Taiwan highest court okays quasi-jury: Can Philippines SC do it also?
By BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUÑA CAUSING
Editor-in-Chief, Dyaryo Magdalo
In a news item posted August 5, 2011 on the website of Taiwan Today, it is announced that its highest court called “Judicial Yuan” has adopted the system of “quasi-jury” trial as a first step to its reform initiatives to address complaints of corruption among judges.
For details, please open this link http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=173606&ctNode=413.
|The Seal of People's Justice|
The proposal of a quasi-jury is anchored on the principle that there should be an interference to check the judges against abusing their power and another principle that the people is the source of power so that the citizenry must have a participation in the decision making on judicial matters.
This is a clear recognition by Taiwan's highest court that the people are the source of the sovereign or original powers of any state, equivalent to what President Benigno S. Aquino III stated when he said to the people: “Kayo ang boss ko.”
Can we do not do it here in the Philippines?
The quasi-jury idea was pushed in July 2011 by Rai Hau-min, the Judicial Yan president, the position equivalent to the Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court.
For more details, read it at http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=170318&ctNode=413.
In pushing the proposal, Rai said: “The judiciary must win people’s confidence with actions not words… Instituting a system that allows ordinary citizens to participate in the trial process is a major step forward in winning that confidence.”
After the approval by the Judicial Yan of the proposal, the proposal was sent to its legislature for approval in October.
And when approved, the same will be implemented in two courts as pilot projects, particularly the Taiwan Chiayi District Court in the South of the country and Taiwan Shilin District Court in the north.
Actually, when approved, the decisions of the quasi-jury shall not be binding. But it will serve as a deterrent because the judges who do not agree must explain in writing why they rejected the judgment of the quasi-jury on facts and guilt.
There is an air of confidence now in Taiwan that its legislature will approve the strong proposal of its supreme court.
When finally approved, the proposal was for a lottery system to chose citizens 23 years old or older with at least high school education and from those who would be drawn will be chosen the five persons to sit alongside three judges.
It also envisions that the jury members will deliberate the facts and then give their decision to the judge concerned. Then, the jury members can question the accused and witnesses if the judge concerned allows them.
The judicial yuan came up with this proposal after learning much from the success stories of quasi-jury in Germany, Japan and South Korea. The Judicial Yuan said that its decision to shift to jury or quasi-jury system will depend on the performance of the quasi-jury.
Can we do it in the Philippines?
I hope Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona agrees. He needs this as his potent weapon against presidential offense.
The Supreme Court needs to increase the trust of the people in it and this is one big proposal: radical change to make justice system for the people, by the people, of the people.