The “People’s Court” (World War II Crimes)

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - October 23, 2020 - 12:00am

Statement of President Sergio Osmeña:

On Signing Commonwealth Act No. 682 creating a People’s Court and an Office of Special Prosecutors for the Prosecution and Trial of Crimes against National Security committed during the Second World War

[Released on September 25, 1945]

“In response to my message of August 20, 1945, the Congress has passed a bill, which I have just signed, creating a special court to be known as the People’s Court and an Office of Special Prosecutors for the prosecution and trial of persons accused of crimes against our national security committed during the war.

“This law provides the necessary machinery to deal with political offenders with utmost dispatch and with the guarantees essential to a fair and impartial hearing. One of its salient features is that those who served the puppet governments during the Japanese occupation are disqualified from appointment to the People’s Court and the Office of Special Prosecutors. The jurisdiction of this Court is not limited to the political prisoners who are now being turned over by the United States Army to the Commonwealth, but to all persons charged with similar crimes against our national security.

“With the signing of this bill, we can assure the Filipino people and the whole world that all who are accused of collaboration with the enemy will be tried by the processes of law and justice, which are as firmly established here as they are elsewhere in the civilized world.

“Like all of our people, I am confident that the People’s Court will carry out its judicial tasks without fear and without favor, and that it will punish the guilty and exonerate the innocent.”

“Commonwealth No. 682 was a legislation inspired by the thoughts of President Sergio Osmeña Sr., this is the coverage of the law:

“Section 2. The People’s Court shall have jurisdiction to try and decide all cases of crimes against national security committed between December eight, nineteen hundred forty-one and September two, nineteen hundred forty-five, and filed within six (6) months from the passage of this Act: Provided, However, That any such cases not so instituted within said period of six (6) months shall be filed with, tried and determined by the proper Court of First Instance; and Provided, Further, That where, in its opinion, the evidence is not sufficient to support the offense charged, the People’s Court may, nevertheless, convict and sentence the accused for any crime included in the acts alleged in the information and established by the evidence.”

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