Bigger share of budget for judiciary pushed

June 17, 2010

Mario B. Casayuran
Manila Bulletin
June 17, 2010

The budget of the judiciary must be doubled within six years to ensure major headway in the fight to end pervasive corruption and improve the quality of life of the Filipino people.

This was stressed on Thursday by Senator Francis Pangilinan who said he is strengthening his commitment to modernize and improve the country’s justice system as he threw his support behind the new administration’s legislative agenda, especially those concerning the judiciary.

‘’We support the call for a bigger share of the budget for the judiciary. We believe that if the campaign slogan ‘kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’ is to be made real, a necessary step is to modernize the justice system and provide the necessary resources to make it happen,’’ he said.

Pangilinan pointed out that the judiciary receives less than one percent of the 2010 P1.3 trillion national budget.

‘’If we are to raise the conviction rates for corruption cases, we must ensure the vacancies in our courts and the prosecution service are filled up with the best and the brightest,’’ he said.

Pangilinan said that “the conviction rate of the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan for corruption cases is pegged at an estimate of less than 20 percent.’’

‘’For every 10 cases filed, less than two end up in conviction, the rest of the cases are dismissed. No wonder there is no fear of committing corrupt acts. More than eight out of 10 get away with it. This is in sharp contrast to the conviction rates in Hong Kong for corruption cases, which is pegged at 79 percent,’’ he said.

“We must also create more courts and raise compensation packages of government employees and officials in the justice system,” Pangilinan adds. “We ought to double the judiciary budget within six years to ensure major headway in our fight to end pervasive corruption and improve the quality of life of our people,’’ he added.

Pangilinan also stressed the importance of a reliable justice system in preventing heinous crimes such as the recent killings of media practitioners.

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