MANILA – In order to address the recent spate of extrajudicial killings, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday filed a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to convene the Joint Judiciary, Executive, and Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council (JJELACC) and upgrade the country’s “antiquated, resource-deprived justice system.”
“Kailangang masolusyunan ang isa sa mga ugat ng problema, at ito ay ang mabagal na sistema ng batas. Sinauna pa ang sistemang ating sinusunod. Sa tingin ko, isa itong salamin kung bakit laganap ngayon ang extrajudicial killings (We need to address one of the roots of the problem, and this is our slow system of justice. We are following an antiquated justice system. This mirrors why extrajudicial killings are becoming rampant),” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 79, or the “Resolution urging the President of the Philippines to Convene the Joint Judiciary, Executive and Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council (JJELACC) to strengthen the administration of justice as a means to end criminality and disregard for the rule of law” following police reports showing that 402 criminal suspects have been killed since July 1, some of which were vigilante killings.
According to the proposed resolution, JJELACC is a “strategic response to strengthening the administration of justice and speeding up the disposition of cases as means to address criminality and disregard for the rule of law.”
“Ang budget ng hudikatura ngayong 2016 ay 0.8% ng buong national budget, ganoon din sa Department of Justice. Hindi man lang umabot sa 2% ng ating national budget ang para sa hustisya at prosecution (In 2016, the budget of the judiciary is only 0.8% of the national budget. The Department of Justice probably receives the same. Not even 2% of the entire national budget goes to the system of justice: the judiciary and the prosecution service),” Pangilinan said.
“Forty percent ng mga posisyon para sa prosecution lawyers ay bakante. Nangangailangan pa tayo ng 30% na mga hukom. Karaniwang nagtatagal ng anim na taon ang mga kaso sa hukuman. Mapapabilis ang mga prosesong ito kung madadagdagan ang budget ng hudikatura. Maaring mapababa sa dalawang taon ang dati ay anim na average shelf life of cases (Forty percent of the prosecution service is vacant. We need to fill out 30% unfilled position for judges. The average shelf life of cases in the first level is six years. We will be able to hasten the justice system if there is an increase in budget. From six years, maybe we should be able to bring it down to two years),” he said.
The JJELACC was first convened in 2008 after the three co-equal branches of government entered into a Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the Executive branch, Senate President Manuel Villar and House Speaker Prospero Nograles for the Legislative branch, and Supreme Court Justice Reynato Puno for the Judiciary.
An additional budget of P2.4 billion was granted the Judiciary in 2009 which led to an increase in recruitment within that branch of government. The vacancies in court was lowered to 16% from 32%.
“Sabi nga ng ating Presidente, ‘We cannot build a nation over the dead bodies of our own citizens.’ Kung magtitipon ang ehekutibo, lehislatura, at hudikatura sa ilalim ng kanyang termino, nagpapahiwatig ito na siya ay seryoso sa pagsagot sa kakulangan ng sistema (As our President said, ‘We cannot build a nation over the dead bodies of our citizens.’ If the President convenes the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches, it will send a strong signal that he is serious in addressing the systemic deficiencies),” Pangilinan said.
“Naniniwala pa rin ako na kapag napagtanto ng ating mga mamamayan na epektibo ang ating sistema ng hustisya, rerespetuhin nila ang batas. Magdadalawang isip gumawa ng katiwalian dahil alam nila na sila ay mapapasailalim sa mabilis na sistema ng batas na moderno at patas (I still believe that when people realize that the system of justice works, then they will respect the rule of law. And they will think twice about doing legal shortcuts because they know they will be held to account in a system of justice that is fair, efficient, and modern),” he said.
Pangilinan was recently appointed Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice during the second session of the 17th Congress last July 26, 2016.