What bill will I push if I were a congressman?
What bill will I push
if I were a congressman?
By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUÑA CAUSING
If I were to propose a bill for the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass into a law, I would push for the passage of a law proposing an amendment to the Constitution to make it as a fundamental right of every person to be tried first by their fellow men sitting as a jury before they would be deprived of the right to life, liberty and property.
In so doing, we will now assure fair justice to all persons, rich or poor, powerful or powerless.
In this proposal, there shall be two kinds of juries: (a) the Investigating Jury; and (b) the Trial Jury.
Under the jury system, we can assure better chances for the poor and small entrepreneurs to compete in every business or every public bidding because the jury system naturally weeds out corruption due to the fact that its stiffness instills fears in the minds of the corrupt to discourage them from continuing their wicked and greedy ways.
With the juries in place, we will be taking from the judges the power to judge the guilt or innocence and from the fiscals/prosecutors/ombudsmen the power to know who shall be charged in court.
Under this justice scheme, a jury that will act as Investigating or Inquest Jury to know whether a person being charged should be tried in court or not.
Now, why can fairness be assured under a jury as prosecutors instead of the present fiscal/prosecutor system?
Fairness can be assured because an investigating or inquest jury shall be composed of 23 persons chosen from the community by raffle and screened further to know who has the capacity to discern and the capacity to be fair.
The names and faces of these jurors shall be kept secret from the public to avoid them getting death threats or getting bribed.
For every criminal case to be brought to them, these investigative jurors will vote among themselves if ever a person being charged should be issued a warrant of arrest and be tried in court.
If a powerful person like First Gentleman Mike Arroyo or Chavit Singson is charged, these jurors cannot be influenced just so powerful criminals escape punishment. Take note that a son of Chavit, Ronald Allan Singson, was forced to plead guilty in Hong Kong because Hong Kong Jury is too strict; just compare if the case of this scion were in the Philippines and know how he can escape punishment.
These investigating jurors will serve only for six months until they are replaced by another group of jurors, assuring that there will be no familiarization that breeds corruption.
Then, why can fairness in trial be assured under a jury as the judge?
Fairness is assured in trials of the accused under a jury as the judges because it will be too difficult to bribe or threaten the trial jury.
If in the present Philippine justice system it is easy to buy the decisions of the judge who is only one person, it will be difficult to do the same on 12 jurors who will sit as trial jurors.
If the cases to be tried by trial jurors are too dangerous or too risky, like the Ampatuan Massacre Trial, then these trial jurors can be placed in a secluded place until after the trial is completed and after the jurors have voted for the guilt or innocence of the accused.
If the jury system is put in place, it is easy to see that our politicians and abusive policemen will behave. Only then we can give true meaning to the phrase "the long arm of the law will catch you."
(Next in this series is financial viability of jury system in the Philippines.)