EJK

Yes, Mr. President thank you. I would like to know if the gentleman from Taguig would be willing to yield to 2 or 3 questions?

The reason why I was persuaded to stand up and raise a few questions was the remark from the good gentleman from Taguig, that he acknowledges and he wishes to also find better ways of addressing the issues at hand. And what ways are these?

Mr. President, I would like to know if the good gentleman from Taguig , Senator Alan, will agree that the root of criminality is the inability of the justice system to punish the guilty in a fair and speedy process?

Regardless of whether it is a narco state or nearing a narco state, it’s a questions of IF there is an effective justice system, we would not have reached a narco state status. Also, if we are faced with a narco state reality, then ultimately, still, a modern justice system is necessary for us to be able to eventually address, not only drugs, smuggling, corruption and other cases?

Mr. President I see the point being raised by the good gentleman that we need perhaps outside the box approaches. Because Eisntein said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity. So I agree in the sense that perhaps the point being raised being raised by the good senator from Taguig is that we have to do things differently. We have to be more creative, we have to find ways and means to be able to approach the problem with different lenses, perhaps shifting paradigms even, so that we may be able to finally reach that modern justice system that we would like to have.

That being the case Mr. President, just to lay the premises: the slow system of justice has to be addressed. The average case life in the 1st level courts is 6 years. That is the reason that is precisely why there is the idea of shortcuts. If the shelf life of a case for example is only 8 months, yung mga provisions of law- yung mga trial, pagkatapos ng diseotso na buwan, guilty sintensya, not guilty release. Pagkaganoon po ang nangyari ay hindi na po magkakaproblema dito sa usapin po ng shortcuts. Number 2, 40% of our prosecution service positions are vacant. So here are steps that have to be taken, another way of addressing, another approach. Number 1, let us move towards reducing the shelf life of criminal prosecution in this country. How do we do that? Let us look at legislation. Let us look at ways of being able to bring down the delay in the disposition of cases. Number 2, fill up the vacant positions in the prosecution service. Maybe, in the next 6 years, itong 40% vacancy, let’s bring it down to 15% vacancy or maybe single digit vacancy. That will perhaps create a fresh shot in the arm of the prosecution service. Obviously, if your vacancy is 40%, then how can you speed up the disposition of cases? Laging postponed ang prosecution. Three, the vacancies in our judiciary is almost one-fourth, 25% vacant ang ating judiciary. Again, pagkanagpatong-patong ang mga kaso, e delay na naman ang resolution of cases. My point, Mr. President, and this I hope our good gentleman from Taguig will share with our President, you know the budget of the judiciary, I found out just this afternoon, is only .8% of the entire national budget. Only .8%, not even 1 percent of the entire national budget goes to the judiciary. If you lead the justice system, including the DOJ, perhaps it can be another .8%. 2% goes to a system of justice that hopes to be able to address all these corruption, criminality, drugs, etc. Palagay ko kinakailangan din nating busisihin ito nang husto. Mahirap hong magtuturuan po tayo pero yung pinakapuno’t dulo, binibigyan pa po natin ng tunay at malawakang pagtugon doon sa problema ng criminality and rule of law. Ang ating conviction rates, if I am not mistaken, or if I recall, tumaas na ho sa corruption cases pero kinakailangan pang i-sustain. Mga 30% na po ata ngayon. Dati ito ay wala pang 15% so nagdoble na. I maybe mistaken but it is still far, far away from Hongkong or Japan where the conviction rate in criminal cases in Japan and Hongkong, if I’m not mistaken, it’s 80%. 80% of corruption cases end up in conviction. In our case, like I said earlier, it’s around a little over 30%. Pag mas marami na pong napaparusahan, e talagang mas magkakaroon ng takot sa ating mga batas at respeto. So my last question Mr. President is this. Are you familiar with the JJELACC?

Yes, the JJELACC is the Joint Judiciary Executive Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council. It was convened in 2007, if I’m not mistaken, or 2008 under President Arroyo, Speaker Prospero Nograles of Davao, Senate President Manny Villar, as well as Chief Justice Renato Puno. It had only met twice, Mr. President, but the two times that it convened, the JJELACC was able to make the necessary recommendations and approval of the budget of the judiciary reaching 1%. In other words, it was a 20% percent increase in budgetary support for the judiciary. And precisely, budgetary support so that there is a strengthening of the Rule of Law and modernization of our system of justice. I think, strategically, if we address the vacancies in our prosecution service, if we address the vacancies in our justice system, in our judiciary, if we address the unacceptable average of 6 years in terms of a case life in the first level courts and work in the next 6 years towards reducing all that, then we will have a system of justice that will be swift, efficient, that will punish the guilty and that will acquit the innocent and I think the shortcuts will be a thing of the past and respect for the rule of law– not out of fear per se, but out of realizing and trusting that the system of justice is finally working and the guilty are finally punished and the innocent will always have their day in court.