June 5, 2012
Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – A Senator on Tuesday said the government should allocate more funds to the country’s judiciary to improve the justice system.

In an ANC interview, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said he sees no reason why the government can not allot some P4 billion or P5 billion to the budget of the judiciary when the education sector is getting as much as P120 billion a year and the cash conditional transfer program gets P20 billion.

“What’s P10 billion for five years or four years? I believe that’s what we need to create more courts and hire more justices and judges,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said the limited resources allocated to the judiciary is reflected by the low conviction rate in the country. He said conviction rate is about 70 percent in Hong Kong, while in the Philippines, conviction rate is about 20 percent.

“The  rule of law is severely undermined by our system of justice and antiquated [facilities and equipment]. Hindi mo talaga gagalangin,” Pangilinan said.

On the average,  a case is tried for six years in the first level of court,  something which usually discourages victims from pursuing a case.

“This[lengthy trial period]  is a combination of many factors. At one point, 44 percent of fiscal positions were vacant and no case can proceed without a public prosecutor. Kapag walang prosecutor, postponed or reset ang trial,” Pangilinan said.

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