WHY SHOULD THE ADOPTION OF THE JURY SYSTEM BE THROUGH RA 6735?Aris Viray
Right from the day I started this campaign for the adoption of the Jury System, I thought that the only way it could happen was for Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution.
This would have meant lobbying Congress to amend the Constitution: –
- But the lawmakers might have just sat on our proposition for years if not decades;
- Worse still, they might have rejected it right from the word go;
- And if they didn’t reject it, they might have watered down our draft of the Jury System – as we thought it should be – to what they thought it should be.
Despite these seemingly insurmountable obstructions, I kept my hopes up that our lawmakers would in the end see the light of day and agree that the Jury System is the solution to our country’s spiralling corruption, lawlessness and criminality.
A few months later, I met Filipino/American lawyer, Atty Marlowe Camello, who said that the adoption can pass without Congress’ approval through the People’s Initiative and Referendum Act (RA 6735).
For many months, members of WPJI were unclear as to the direction of our campaign.
Some were still convinced that the adoption could only be done through the Congress’ approval.
Some suggested we should approach the Supreme Court instead since it has the power to change the court procedure from the current solo judge system to the jury system. All it has to do is for the court to employ a number of ordinary citizens to investigate the presence of probable cause and to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused instead of the single judge.
But, whichever of the two ways the adoption is done; the politicians and the judges, – not the people – would still control and manipulate our justice system.
With the success of our campaign for the adoption of the Jury System through the People’s Initiative and Referendum Act (RA 6735), the Filipino people will be able to claim ownership of the adopted Jury System. Consequently, it will not be just a simple, ordinary law (like the others that Congress passed down on the Filipinos and are then interpreted and implemented by the Supreme Court).
According to Article 2 Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, “We, the Filipinos, possess the sovereign power in our country. The authority of our elected leaders was only given to them by us Filipinos.”
When we finally pass and enact the National Jury Law, the essence of Article 2 Section 1 will be a reality.
We will then be the Masters of our Fate and the Captains of Our Soul!