Impossible to happen in PH -- 'Abuses' in veto power led Grand Jury to indict Texas gov
Impossible to happen in PH --
'Abuses' in veto power led
Grand Jury to indict Texas gov
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
As you read this, think about Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Mayor Junjun Binay and the controversial 11-storey parking building, as well as criminal policemen dominating the news headlines as this blog is written.
In the Philippines, citizens are helpless on what remedy to take if they see their mayor or governor abusing the power to veto an ordinance passed by the council or the provincial board or their President veto a law passed by the Congress and the city council or provincial board or Congress is not willing to overturn the veto with three-fourths vote of the membership of the council, provincial board or Congress.
Similar is the problem if the veto is not used to stop the ordinance or law that the citizens clearly see as prejudicial.
The same degree is the problem if Filipino citizens see their city council or provincial board or Congress does not act in passing an ordinance or a law that the citizens have been petitioning them to pass. The otherwise is similar.
For example, the mayor or governor vetoes an ordinance giving fund for the operations of a city or provincial college because the mayor or governor wants the college president to resign and the college head does not resign. This is clearly abusive for the mayor or governor to do because of the presence of hate by the mayor or governor to the college president and, more so, because the students of the citizens studying in that college may be forced to stop schooling as the institution must close for lack of budget.
Another example is the President vetoes the Freedom on Information Act and the citizens sees that veto as uncalled for because the Chief Executive acted against their wishes to have this law as the only way for to check the abuses of officials.
Another example is the Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) inaction in passing the law defining "political dynasty." There is no doubt the citizens need this law but the Congress has been sitting on it until now.
In the USA, particularly Texas, Governor Rick Perry vetoed the budget law giving fund for the operations of the Travis County District Attorney Office just because District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused the governor's desire for her to resign following her DWI conviction.
Seeing this act as uncalled for, a group of Texas citizens filed a criminal case against Gov. Perry before the Grand Jury of Travis.
The Grand Jury approved the charges filed against Gov. Perry.
Perry is now indicted in court because of two class A misdemeanors – one count of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.
News said that if convicted, Perry could face jail time. "The first count carries a penalty of 5-99 years in prison. The second count could result in two to 10 years in prison."
The indictment of then President Bill Clinton for impeachment over the so-called "Oral Sex at Oval Office" was made possible by the grand jury.
The filing alone of the complaint before the grand jury against then President Richard Nixon and his anticipation that he would be charged for indictment before the Impeachment Court for the Watergate Hotel Scandal compelled him to resign and give way to Gerald Ford to become the only President of the USA who was not elected as Vice-President or President.
Then Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was charged by the grand jury and convicted by the trial jury because it was found that he sold the vacant senator's office vacated by President Obama.
How I wish the Philippines has a grand jury in every city or province, to be the ones deciding whether to charge one person in court or not.
But what the Philippines has is a prosecutor office whose decision to charge or not to charge one in court is always looked with disfavor. Often, those Filipino political officials charged by prosecutors (either the regular prosecutor's office or the Office of the Ombudsman) would counter-charged that the acts of charging them in court were "political persecution" of the minority; as what happened with Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.
In the case of Governor Perry, Clinton, Nixon and Blagojevich, they did not complain that the decisions of the grand juries were politicized. It is because they knew that the members of the grand juries who voted for their indictment were fair.
Grand jury is composed of 25 persons randomly selected from the community and they will serve for six months and replaced by newly-chosen members who will also serve the same length of time until replaced by new members.
The manner of selection of jury membership is random. For example, the office of the Grand Jury will pick 100 names from the community randomly from a computer data base. Thereafter, those initially chosen shall be subpoenaed to appear for interviews to determine who are the 25 most qualified among them.
If the Philippines has a grand jury in every city or province, the poor or less-fortunate citizens will have a fair day in filing their complaints against abuses or crimes by the moneyed, politicians, and other influential groups, including the perceived kickbacks by the Binay father-and-son. The people can be assured that their cases will be treated fairly if they file a case against abusive or "kotong" policemen or soldiers.
Put otherwise, the poor or less-fortunate will expect fair judgment of the cases filed against them if charges are fabricated or whose evidence were just planted, that is common to happen nowadays as "hulidap." The so-called EDSA robbery committed against two Maranao natives could have gone unpunished if not for the single photograph taken and posted by a girl online; which is assured of justice if these Maranao businessmen had a way of filing complaints before a grand jury that will assess the complaints depending on how the victims testify before the grand jury.
If the grand jury system is put in place, it is believed by the author that the causes for rebellion will lose their meaning and die a natural death.
So why not join me in the campaign for the establishment of grand jury replacing the prosecutor's office?