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Supreme Court United Nations

of the Philippines Development Programme

Conduct of Further Study


on Operations and Linkages
of the 5 Pillars of Justice
FINAL REPORT

March 2006

CPRM consultants, inc.


Conduct of Further Study
on Operations and Linkages
of the 5 Pillars of Justice
FINAL REPORT

March 2006
United Nations Development Programme – Supreme Court of the Philippines
CONDUCT OF FURTHER STUDY ON OPERATIONS AND LINKAGES OF THE 5 PILLARS OF JUSTICE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1 Background of the Project .................................................................................. 1-1


2 Scope of the Desk Review and Integration ........................................................ 1-2
3 Report Format .................................................................................................... 1-4

Chapter 2 SYSTEM OVERVIEW AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 2-1
2 Criminal Justice System Overview ..................................................................... 2-1
3 Normative Protection .......................................................................................... 2-8
4 Conceptual Framework of the Study ................................................................ 2-16

Chapter 3 SYNTHESIS OF THE DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES

1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 3-1
2 Performance in Providing Justice Remedies...................................................... 3-1
3 What the Strengths Are .................................................................................... 3-14
4 What the Needs to be Improved Upon ............................................................. 3-17

Chapter 4 PROPOSED ROADMAP FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM REFORMS

1 Objectives ........................................................................................................... 4-1


2 Composition of Reforms ..................................................................................... 4-1
3 Recommendations.............................................................................................. 4-2

LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1 Laws on the Protection of Vulnerable Sectors........................................................ 2-15

Table 3.1 Annual Caseload and Clearance Rates, Lower Courts, 2000-2004)........................ 3-2

Table 3.2 Annual Caseflows and Disposition Rates, Lower Courts, 2000-2004 ...................... 3-2

Table 3.3 Composition of Judicial Actions Lower Courts, 2000-2004 ...................................... 3-3

Table 3.4 Prescribed Time Durations in the Processing of Cases in the Courts...................... 3-3

Table 3.5 Percent of Civil and Criminal Cases Exceeding


Prescribed Time Limits, Lower Courts ...................................................................... 3-4

Table 3.6 Disposition of Cases at the RTC and MTC/MCTC/MTCC for Y2002 ....................... 3-8

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Table 3.7 Dispositive Action/Disposal Rate Preliminary Investigation


of Criminal Cases, 1994-2003 .................................................................................. 3-9

Table 3.8 Occupancy Condition in National Penitentiaries, 2000............................................. 3-9

Table 3.9 Length of Time from Arrest to Last Hearing of Case


April 2003 (Sentenced Inmates) ............................................................................. 3-11

Table 3.10 Annual Crime Volumes, 1995 – 2003 ..................................................................... 3-13

Table 3.11 Crime Solution Rate Selected Countries ................................................................ 3-13

Table 3.12 The Cost of Maintaining a Criminal Justice System


National Government Obligations, 2005 ................................................................ 3-22

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1 The Five Pillars of the Justice System ..................................................................... 2-3

Figure 2.2 Criminal Procedures in the Philippines, Summary.................................................. 2-10

Figure 2.3 Framework for Access to Justice ........................................................................... 2-17

Figure 2.4 Functionally Integrated Criminal Justice System .................................................... 2-19

Figure 2.5 Capacity Framework for a Functionally Integrated Criminal Justice System.......... 2-21

Figure 2.6 Capacity Assessment and Development Framework ............................................. 2-22

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CONDUCT OF FURTHER STUDY ON OPERATIONS AND LINKAGES OF THE 5 PILLARS OF JUSTICE

1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1 BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT


1.1 The Technical Assistance Project

1.1.1 Several studies and reform initiatives have been undertaken during the past 6 years
in the various pillars of the justice system.

1.1.2 The Judiciary is in the thick of detailing and installing a 6-year Action Program for
Judicial Reform (APJR), 2001-2006, which comprises of various reforms in
institutions development, court systems and administration, court technologies,
human resources development, information technology, court-community relations
and reform support systems.

1.1.3 The Department of Justice (DOJ) conducted a diagnostic study of agencies within
the department performing prosecution, correction, law enforcement and community
(public defender) functions. Specific studies on the Public Attorneys Office (PAO),
the legal assistance system for the poor, and on the correction system and inmates
were also undertaken and provided a rich resource of perspectives useful in
understanding the issues and the reform responses that will address these.

1.1.4 The Philippine National Police (PNP) has completed several diagnostic studies, and
on the basis of these studies adopted the Integrated Transformation Program (ITP)
for the PNP where reforms in the police system’s legal and institutional framework;
PNP structure, operations, human, financial and physical, as well as logistical
resources; integrity and accountability; and external linkages were identified and
programmed over the medium-term.

1.1.5 Several other thematic studies were also conducted on the pillars. These studies
have invariably pointed out the inextricable relationship among the 5 pillars and the
need to seamlessly integrate, harmonize or connect as the case may be the policies,
operating systems, technologies and competencies in order for the entire criminal
justice system to function as an efficient and effective integrated system. The
agencies concerned recognize the need for the synchronization of the scope and
content, sequencing, timing, and perhaps public investments of the 5 pillars.

1.1.6 In response, the UNDP Governance Portfolio in partnership with the Program
Management Office of the Supreme Court contracted the services of the CPRM
Consultants, Inc. to undertake the project entitled: CONDUCT OF FURTHER STUDY
ON OPERATIONS AND LINKAGES OF THE 5 PILLARS OF JUSTICE. The CPRM

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Consultants fielded a team of two (2) governance reform specialists 1 who have had
extensive participation in the conduct of diagnostic studies and formulation of reform
programs in the pillars of justice in the Philippines.

1.2 Purpose and Expected Outputs of the Engagement

1.2.1 As stated in the terms of reference, the purpose of the engagement is to conduct a
desk review of studies in the criminal justice system, and harmonize as well as
consolidate the outputs and recommendations in such a way that complementation
will result, producing a unified set of recommendations applicable to all five pillars. In
particular the engagement aims to:

a) Assess and harmonize various recommendations made by the five pillars


during a series of FGDs and the National Forum conducted in 2004.
b) Develop a rationalization approach for the five pillars towards enhancing and
integrating the criminal justice system, which will be the basis for the eventual
formulation and implementation of a Medium-Term Criminal Justice System
Development Plan.

1.2.2 The expected outputs of the engagement consist of a draft final report which will be
validated with the stakeholders and fine-tuned and finalized with their inputs. The
report will contain the integration of the assessment and recommendations. Another
expected output is a documentation report containing the highlights of issues and
agreements reached during the validation workshop on the final output.

1.2.3 It is emphasized at this point that the content of the consultants’ outputs are delimited
to what are contained in the studies reviewed. The work involves a desk review and
synthesis as well as integration of the assessments and recommendations of the
identified studies in the criminal justice system. The recommendations provide a
roadmap for reforming the criminal justice system towards improving its functioning
as an integrated system.

1.2.4 The timing, annual programming and sequencing, as well as the financial estimation
of the cost of the design and implementation of the reforms and the management
thereof, are not within the scope and resources of this engagement but should be
part of the more detailed and planned Medium-Term Development Plan for the
Criminal Justice System.

2 SCOPE OF THE DESK REVIEW AND INTEGRATION


2.1.1 The engagement basically involves desk review of relevant studies and reports. The
task of the consultants is to consolidate and review the outputs and
recommendations of previous studies and reports on fora conducted in relation to the
five pillars of the criminal justice system. Where gaps in the assessment studies and
recommendations are identified, these are pointed out and recommendations on
what measures are needed to fill these study gaps are presented.

1
Vicky Alinsug, Governance and Institutions Development Specialist and Team Leader; Vienna Diuco, Institutions and Systems
Engineering Specialist

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2.1.2 While the initial intent of the engagement is to harmonize 4 or 5 studies on the
criminal justice system funded by the UNDP Governance Portfolio, the studies and
reports actually reviewed and found to be useful and relevant comprised of 12
studies which include the following:

a) Strengthening the Other Pillars of Justice through Reforms in the Department


of Justice, an institutional review of the law enforcement, prosecution,
correction and public defender agencies of the Department of Justice,
undertaken by CPRM Consultants, Inc.
b) National Forum on Access to Justice through the Reforms in the Five Pillars of
the Criminal Justice System, facilitated and reported by the Development
Academy of the Philippines
c) Focus Group Discussions on the Five Pillars of Justice facilitated and reported
by the Development Academy of the Philippines
d) Transforming the Philippine National Police Into a More Capable, Effective and
Credible Police Force, Part 1: Focus Group Discussions, facilitated and
reported by the Program Management Office, Supreme Court of the Philippines
e) Transforming the Philippine National Police Into a More Capable, Effective and
Credible Police Force, Part 2: Diagnostic Study and Reform Program
Formulation, undertaken by CPRM Consultants, Inc.
f) Freedom and Death Inside the Jail: A Look Into the Condition of Quezon City
Jail, undertaken by Raymund E. Narag
g) Assessment of the Public Attorney’s Office,2003, undertaken by the La Salle
Institute of Governance
h) National Survey of Inmates and Institutional Assessment, undertaken by
CPRM Consultants, Inc.
i) A Survey of Private Legal Practitioners to Monitor Access to Justice by the
Disadvantaged, undertaken by The Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary
Network, Inc. (ASIN)
j) Institutional Strengthening of the Shari’a Justice System: Phase 1, undertaken
by CPRM Consultants, Inc.
k) Papers on Mobilizing the Community Pillar, by various authors including Ms.
Menez-Zafra, Chairperson, Community Pillar, NAPOLCOM Technical
Committee on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Philippines; Ms. M.
Kakihara, Professor, UNAFEI; Mr. K Aizawa, Deputy Director, UNDAFEI; Mr. F.
Seril, Chairman, PASUC; and Mr. R. Salvosa, President, Child and Family
Service Philippines, Inc.
l) Office of the Ombudsman Medium-term Anti-Corruption Plan, undertaken by
CPRM Consultants, Inc., Office of the Ombudsman, and UNDP

2.1.3 There are several other earlier and later studies and reports on specific pillars that
continue to be relevant, where identified issues remain current, and for which
solutions that have been recommended remain to be implemented. These were
therefore also considered, as follows:

a) Judicial Sector Study for the Philippines undertaken by Ms. Karen Hudes,
World Bank

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b) Formulation of Administrative Reforms, a diagnostic study of the Judiciary


undertaken by CPRM, Supreme Court, and World Bank
c) Action Program On Judicial Reform undertaken by the Supreme Court, with
services from CPRM and the World Bank
d) Case Decongestion and Delay Reduction Strategy: Phase 1, conducted by
CPRM, Supreme Court, and World Bank
e) Enhancing Communication Between the Judiciary and the Citizenry, conducted
by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, Supreme Court, and
UNDP
f) The Philippine Criminal Justice System, conducted Prof. Myrna Feliciano and
Alberto Muyot, Supreme Court, and World Bank
g) Enhancing Access of the Basic Sectors to the Judiciary, conducted by Dr.
Emmanuel Buendia, Supreme Court, and UNDP
h) Strengthening the Independence and Accountability of the Judiciary, conducted
by CPRM Consultants, Association of State Universities and Colleges of
Canada, National Center for State Courts, The Asia Foundation, Supreme
Court, and Asian Development Bank
i) Institutional Studies and Reform Program Formulation and Design, various
activities conducted by CPRM Consultants, Inc., Commission on Human Rights
of the Philippines, and UNDP

2.1.4 A review of other studies and empirical experience were also undertaken. From the
review of the studies and reports, the consultants developed an integrated reform
approach, identified areas of integration and the strategies by which an integrated
criminal justice reform program can be anchored. The integrated criminal justice
reform framework is expected to ensure that reforms will be anchored on human
rights, gender mainstreaming and access to justice.

3 REPORT FORMAT
3.1.1 This draft final report is organized into the following major components:

Chapter 1: GENERAL INTRODUCTION


Chapter 2: CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Chapter 3: ASSESSMENT
Chapter 4: ROADMAP FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM REFORM

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CONDUCT OF FURTHER STUDY ON OPERATIONS AND LINKAGES OF THE 5 PILLARS OF JUSTICE

2
SYSTEM OVERVIEW AND CONCEPTUAL
FRAMEWORK

1 INTRODUCTION
1.1.1 This chapter presents an overview of the criminal justice system and the conceptual
framework and approach of the integration study. The framework derived guidance
from many approaches, including the UNDP’s rights-based approach to access to
justice as contained in the document: Programming For Justice: Access to All, A
Practitioner’s Guide to a Human Rights-Based Approach to Access to Justice, and
from public sector, institutional development, systems and capacity assessment and
development approaches.

2 CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM OVERVIEW


2.1 Definition and Goals

2.1.1 The criminal justice system is the mechanism which the society uses in the
prevention and control of crime. It consists of the system of courts, including the
barangay justice system, the informal justice system implemented through practice
particularly by indigenous communities, and the quasi-judicial bodies empowered by
law to perform adjudicatory functions; the systems for law enforcement and
prosecution which involve investigating, apprehending and prosecuting those who
could not be deterred from violating the law and the rules of the society; the system
of corrections and rehabilitation or the means of rehabilitating offenders and returning
them to the community as law-abiding citizens; and the community which collectively
imposes limitations on individual behavior of citizens for the common good of
civilized and democratic society that deters criminality and criminal behavior.

2.1.2 Along the above features, the Supreme Court has provided a definition of the
criminal justice system which has been used as a working definition in this further
study on the five pillars of the criminal justice system. The Supreme Court defines
the criminal justice system as: “. . .the system or process in the community by which
crimes are investigated, and the persons suspected thereof are taken into custody,
prosecuted in court and punished if found guilty, with provision being made for their
correction and rehabilitation.”1

1
The representatives of the agencies of the criminal justice system suggested during the January 2006 validation workshop on the study that a more descriptive
definition of criminal justice system, which is acceptable to all the pillars, be crafted. They observed that the Supreme Court definition is delimiting and is not
reflective of what the system actually embodies. They also noted that it is less indicative of the actual involvement of both claimholders and duty holders in the
different pillars, especially that of the community whose concerns cut across all other pillars.

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2.1.3 The goals of the criminal justice system are:

a) To make sure that there are no wrongful convictions and that the right person
is identified and convicted of the crime he/she committed; that both suspect
and victim have access to remedies; that they are provided with a speedy and
impartial process that ensures the protection of their human and legal rights,
and equal treatment before the law; that the appropriate remedy is applied to
the convicted; and, that while serving sentence the convicted is accorded
humane treatment and adequate support to enable him to develop or
redevelop his capacity as a good and productive member of the community.
b) To gain and sustain the trust and confidence of the community, and engage the
community as an active and effective partner in solving crime, and in facilitating
the provision of remedies particularly through restorative justice.
c) To develop capacity of communities to demand accessible, speedy, impartial
and quality justice, and in particular the appropriate remedies for their
grievances.

2.2 Types of Crimes

2.2.1 The law provides presumption of innocence of all suspects and detained persons
until proven guilty in court.

2.2.2 There are about 18 types of crimes as specified in the penal code and other laws:

a) Crimes against national security and law of nations


b) Crimes against the fundamental laws of the state
c) Crimes against public order
d) Crimes against public interest
e) Crimes related to opium and prohibited drugs (As amended by RA 6245)
f) Crimes against public morals
g) Crimes committed by public officers
h) Crimes against persons
i) Crimes against personal liberty and security
j) Crimes against property
k) Crimes against chastity
l) Crimes against civil status of persons
m) Crimes against honor
n) Quasi-judicial Offenses
o) Special crimes as provided for under special laws such as carnapping,
hijacking, plunder, etc)
p) Violations of city and municipal ordinances
q) Crimes handled by special courts such as corporate crimes, heinous crimes,
intellectual property rights violations, violation of forestry laws
r) Crimes under the jurisdiction of the Barangay Justice System

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2.2.3 These types are based on the classification of cases by the courts. There is no
formally established common and operational classification of crimes within the
criminal justice system other than that provided for in the penal code and other crime
legislation. The unification and codification of criminal law and crime classifications
will help in harmonizing information across the pillars of the criminal justice system.

2.3 Institutional Framework

2.3.1 While other countries have only 3 or 4 pillars of the criminal justice the criminal
justice system of the Philippines comprises of 5 pillars with the formal inclusion of the
community among the pillars of the criminal justice.

Figure 2.1
THE FIVE PILLARS OF THE\ JUSTICE SYSTEM

LAW
ENFORCEMENT

PROSECUTION

JUDICIARY OFFENDER

CORRECTIONS
Process flow
Linkages

COMMUNITY

SOURCE: UNDP-SC, Survey of Inmates, CPRM Consultants, Inc.

2.3.2 In the Philippines responsibility for the criminal justice system is primarily with the
national government with local governments performing supportive roles.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

2.3.3 Law enforcement involves prevention of the commission of crime and the protection
of the life, liberty and properties of citizens. The national government plays the
primary role in law enforcement, particularly in policing.
2.3.4 The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
are the primary law enforcement agencies of the national government. There are
other 34 agencies performing police functions each of which usually has specific
functional and geographical jurisdiction defined by law. But these 34 other

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government agencies have very limited policing competencies and resources and
therefore utilize the police force of the PNP to carry out their operations.

2.3.5 The PNP maintains an extensive network of regional, provincial, city/municipal,


district offices and police stations. The PNP delivery system is such that national
units, regional offices, provincial offices, directly deliver police services to the
community in addition to the city/municipal stations and their precincts also operated
by PNP. The NBI also maintains its own network of regional and field offices. Within
PNP and NBI are specialized task forces assigned to address special functions and
type of crime and criminal incidences.

2.3.6 Local government units perform law enforcement functions as mandated in the local
government code. The executive heads of the local government (mayors and
governors) have the power to enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the
governance of the local government. The mayor also exercises oversight functions
over the PNP in his capacity as deputized representative of the National Police
Commission. He formulates and implements the local peace and order plan, and
exercises general supervision over the police force in the locality. Local executive
heads are also empowered to call on law enforcement agencies of the national
government to suppress disorder, riot, lawless violence, rebellion or sedition or to
apprehend violators of the law.

PROSECUTION

2.3.7 The prosecution pillar conducts preliminary investigation of cases filed in the
prosecutors’ offices and prosecutes cases filed in the court against alleged offenders,
after probable cause has been established.

2.3.8 Prosecution is the responsibility of the prosecution pillar which comprises primarily of
two national government agencies, the National Prosecution Service, an organic unit
of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the
Ombudsman is an independent agency responsible for the investigation and
prosecution of graft and corruption cases and is empowered under the Constitution
to have fiscal autonomy. The Public Attorney’s Office under the Department of
Justice provides a wide range of legal services including prosecution and defense.
As a matter of policy, PAO lawyers only intervene in cases that are already pending
in court (Feliciano and Muyot, WB, SC, 2000).

2.3.9 A Chief State Prosecutor heads the NPS. Five (5) Assistant Chief State Prosecutors
assist the Chief State prosecutor The Office of the Chief State Prosecutor is
composed of 119 State Prosecutors. Under the administrative supervision of the
Chief State Prosecutor are 14 Regional State Prosecutors, 96 City Prosecutors, 79
Provincial Prosecutors, and 1,801 Assistant City and Provincial Prosecutors. All in
all, state prosecutors total 2,109. The number of prosecutors assigned in each city
and province depends on the size of the province or city. In some cases, new cities
are established without providing for additional prosecutor positions in the Office of
the City Prosecutor.

2.3.10 The OMB has a total of 1,141 positions, of which 846 (74%) are filled and 295 (24%)
are vacant. Of these, 40 (03%) are managerial positions, 544 (48%) are technical

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positions, 167 (15%) are support to technical positions and 390 (34%) are
administrative support positions. There are about 60 prosecutor and 150 investigator
positions. In the year 2006 budget, 40 new prosecutor positions and 200 new
investigator positions are provided. The OMB estimates that a total of 500
investigator and 200 prosecutor positions will be needed in order to establish
workload ratios that achieve efficiency and speed in the processing and prosecution
of corruption cases. Technical positions are composed of investigators and
prosecutors. Under the current staffing structure, there is almost 1:1 ratio between
technical and non-technical positions.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

2.3.11 Judicial power is vested in the Judiciary. The independence of the Judiciary is
enshrined in the Constitution which provides that the budget of the Judiciary is
automatically released and should not be less than that of the previous year.

2.3.12 The judiciary pillar adjudicates cases and renders judgment. The Philippine Judiciary
is a four-tiered court system consisting of the Supreme Court as the highest court of
the land; the intermediate courts consisting of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan,
and Court of Tax Appeals; the second level courts totaling 2080, which consist of 950
Regional Trials Courts; and the first level courts comprising of the 82 Metropolitan
Trial Courts, 141 Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, 425 Municipal Trial Courts, and 426
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.

2.3.13 The Philippine court system is founded both on codal and customary laws. The
Shari’a Justice system has formalized into the mainstream of the judicial system
customary laws and justice among Muslim communities through the creation of 5
Shari'a District Courts, and 51 Shari'a Circuit Courts which exercise jurisdiction over
cases involving persons, family and property relations of Muslim Filipinos. A study
conducted on the Shari’a courts indicated that a significant proportion of cases under
the jurisdiction of the Shari’a courts were settled outside of the court, many of them
by the Shari’a judges themselves acting as community leaders. While there were
noticeably low caseloads in the Shari’a courts, Shari’a judges were in fact burdened
with cases handled under the informal system.

2.3.14 The Judiciary has 32,000 positions in its authorized staffing pattern. Of this number,
only about 2,000 are positions of justices and judges. The current judge-population
ratio as of 2005 is estimated at 1:43,000.

2.3.15 In addition to the Judiciary, there are agencies in the national government that
perform quasi-judicial functions on cases pertinent to the functions of their mother
departments. Twenty-three of these quasi-judicial bodies while are under the
administrative supervision of the President of the Philippines, have independence
with respect to their adjudicatory functions which are appealable only to the Court of
Appeals, except those of the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit
whose decisions are appealable to the Supreme Court.

2.3.16 There is also the Barangay Justice System which adjudicates assigned cases at the
barangay level before they are eventually filed in the courts. Moreover, there are the

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Court Annexed Mediation System which currently has 28 pilot units, and the private
sector mediation organizations that are involved in case adjudication.

2.3.17 The Local Government Code provides for a barangay justice system, effective 1992,
through the creation of a council of justice (lupong tagapamayapa) composed of the
barangay chairman as head and 10 to 20 members. The council is to be constituted
every three years, coinciding with the tenure of the local government officials. A
conciliation panel is constituted for every dispute brought before the Lupon consisting
of three members to be chosen by the parties to the dispute from the list of the
members. Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 14-93 stipulates that all
disputes are subject to barangay level conciliation as pre-condition to the filing of a
complaint in court or any government office, except in certain disputes specified
therein.

2.3.18 The Supreme Court established in 2000 a system of court-annexed mediation.


Through an administrative issuance, the Supreme Court established a Philippine
Mediation Center under the supervision of the Philippine Judicial Academy to serve
as a court-annexed mediation unit in each of the various lower courts in the country
and in the Court of Appeals.

CORRECTION

2.3.19 The correction pillar is composed of two major and equally significant components:
the institution-based and the community based corrections. The institution-based
corrections comprise of prisons and jails which are concerned with prisoners serving
term of imprisonment, those under detention status, and those for safekeeping in
selected cases. The jails and prisons are administered by the Bureau of Corrections
of the DOJ, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology of the DILG, and by the
local government units with regard to provincial and sub-provincial jails. The
Philippine National Police likewise maintains detention facilities in its different police
stations nationwide.

2.3.20 Community-based corrections pertain to probation and parole. These are being
managed by the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) of the DOJ. PPA
conducts a post-sentence investigation of petitioners for probation as referred by the
courts, as well as pre-parole/pre-executive clemency investigation for those referred
by the Board of Pardons and Parole (another DOJ agency), to determine the
suitability of the offender to be reintegrated in the community instead of serving their
sentence inside an institution or prison. PPA further supervises probationers,
parolees and conditional pardonees to promote their rehabilitation and reintegration
to the mainstream of society. It mobilizes the community resources, especially
through volunteer probation aides.

2.3.21 The Bureau of Pardons and Parole is authorized by law to grant parole to qualified
prisoners. It also recommends to the President of the Philippines the grant of
executive clemency in the form of reprieve, commutation of sentence, conditional
pardon and absolute pardon.

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2.3.22 The Department of Social Welfare and Development moreover assumes


responsibility for the restorative part of the correction system by maintaining centers
for the care and restoration of youth and women who are in conflict with the law.

THE COMMUNITY

2.3.23 Criminal justice in many countries has in recent years begun to recognize the power
of working with communities and organized groups in fighting criminality. It is only in
the Philippines however that the community is formally recognized as a pillar of the
criminal justice system (Menez-Zafra), although the definition and role of the
community pillar under the system has somehow not been clearly defined.

2.3.24 The community pillar collectively imposes limitations on individual behavior of


citizens that deter criminality and criminal behavior for the common good of civilized
and democratic society. Institutions such as the barangays, government agencies,
legislative bodies, the academe, and religious and civic organizations, among others,
are involved in this pillar. It is however commonly understood that the organized civil
society and community members perform both the roles of dutyholders and
claimholders in the administration of justice. As dutyholders, they have the
responsibility to assist law enforcement and the courts in solving crime by providing
information, by community participation in crime prevention and creating a culture of
peace, and by supporting the mobilization of resources for peace and order. As
claimholders they are the beneficiaries of the justice system and they play critical
roles in holding system dutyholders accountable.

2.3.25 Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play
and increasingly active role in the criminal justice system both as instruments of
accountability and as partners in providing criminal justice support services.

2.3.26 The Constitution of the Philippines guarantees the provision of adequate legal
assistance to the poor. Legal assistance refers to free judicial and non-judicial
services provided by law practitioners or groups to indigent members of society.
Judicial and non-judicial services include legal counseling, documentation or
preparation of legal instruments, complaints, petitions and other pleadings, and
representation to courts and quasi-judicial bodies.

2.3.27 The country’s social defense system comprises of the Public Attorney’s Office which
is the primary agency responsible for providing legal assistance to indigent parties.
The courts also provide free legal assistance to indigent parties, and so do several
government agencies and private groups providing legal assistance to the poor,
including the Commission on Human Rights, the Bureau of Agrarian Legal
Assistance of the Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration. Each of these agencies handles cases pertinent to their
functions. There are also several private organizations and civil society groups
providing free legal assistance such as law firms, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, legal clinics in law schools of universities, anti-crime groups, and
alternative law groups.

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3 NORMATIVE PROTECTION
3.1 Description

3.1.1 UNDP refers to normative protection as individual, institutional and collective


capacities to ensure that justice remedies to people, especially the disadvantaged,
are legally recognized, either by formal laws or customary norms. Legal protection
thus provides the bases, either or both in terms of formal laws or traditional practices,
for the recognition of people’s rights and the subsequent provision of remedies to
their grievances and complaints within the scope of the criminal justice system.

3.1.2 Norms, which comprise formal and informal laws, are socially generated and have
the capacity to provide protection. Formal laws are legislated in respond to social
demand. Informal laws on the other hand evolved through social interactions and are
enforced by non-governmental institutions. Laws establish the terms of reference for
the social contract under which citizens live and work together and are governed by a
state authority. These laws provide the rudiments of social order where standards of
right and wrong are defined, individual rights are protected, and the systems of
remedies and penalties are enforced through the coercive power of the State.

3.2 National Framework for Normative Protection

3.2.1 The national framework for normative protection consists of the Constitution,
legislation, court decisions or jurisprudence, and customary practices. In the
Philippines, democratic governance and socio-economic development rest on a
foundation of law which is recognized and valued by both citizens and state
authorities. These laws, which are embodied in the Constitution, statutes, judicial
opinions, and international instruments, comprise the body of official rules and
regulations that govern the society and control the behavior of its members.

ƒ The Constitution as the basic and supreme law of the country provides the
general framework and principle by which a State is run. It is the standard by
which other national legal instruments and governmental actions and decisions
are based and measured.
ƒ Legislation or statutory law is enacted by the legislature or the Congress of the
Philippines. It comprises of statutes, codes, acts or legislative resolutions and
decrees. Local governments are authorized by the constitution to formulate and
pass in local ordinance pertaining to minor offenses such as traffic violations.
These three sources of laws provide the legal infrastructure of the criminal justice
system.
ƒ Court decisions or jurisprudence is the link between the normative framework
and the individual. They provide normative protection through the application of
laws and international standards, especially those on human rights.
ƒ Informal laws can either be written or unwritten. Customary norms and practices
are the main sources of informal laws which likewise provide normative
protection.

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ƒ International agreements like treaties, conventions, covenants and charters


concluded between states are also sources of normative protection. They are
often supplemented by protocols and often stated in declarations, standards,
rules, guidelines, recommendations and principles.

3.2.2 International treaties and conventions are best exemplified by those pertaining to the
promotion and protection of human rights. At the core of the international human
rights system is the United Nations and its charter which was signed on 26 June
1945. The charter provides provisions that set the foundation for the international
human rights system. In particular, under Article 55 of the charter member-nations
commit to promote “universal respect for and observance of, human rights and
fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
Article 56 of the charter provides that all members commit to take joint and separate
actions in cooperation with the UN to ensure the achievement of the provisions of
Article 55.

3.2.3 The Philippines is signatory to twenty-three (23) human rights treaties and protocols.
Thus, the government is bound to comply with and ensure the implementation or
observance of the provisions of these treaties and protocols. International treaties
provide protection and promote access to justice by providing (a) international
obligations for states; (a) other standards that are not binding to the states as such
but give normative guidance on specific issues (e.g., resolutions, declarations,
guiding principles, etc.) and may be indicative of a growing internal consensus to
further develop the international legal framework; (c) an additional forum for access
to justice (e.g. communications and inquiry procedures initiated through treaty bodies
and regional courts and commissions, in cases where national mechanisms are
ineffective); (d) mechanisms to monitor states compliance with treaty obligations; and
(c) an additional forum to create or influence national norm making.

3.2.4 The legal system has certain elements consisting of the (a) rules, which can be
international or domestic, constitutional or ordinary, procedural or substantive, formal
or informal in nature; (b) processes through which rules are made, applied,
interpreted and enforced in practice (i.e., rule-making, rule-enforcing, and rule-
changing); and (c) the relevant actors and institutions , whose mandate, functions,
programs and concerns are involved with and related to the rules and processes of
the systems.

3.3 The Formal Legal Protection System

3.3.1 The criminal justice system is the mechanism society uses to maintain social control
or enforce the standards of conduct necessary to protect individuals and the
community. This system operates through the pillars of the justice system, which
starts with discovering of the commission of a criminal act, investigating, identifying
and apprehending suspects, conducting preliminary investigation to establish
probable cause, and prosecution in the courts, processing of the case in the court,
rendering of judgment, serving of sentence and release after completion of the
sentence. The process is and should always be controlled and influenced by laws
and interpretations of law.

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3.3.2 The criminal justice system adopts the prescribed and established criminal
procedures, rules and regulations. Figure 2.2 provides an overview of these
procedures based on the Rules on Criminal Procedures of the Rules of the Court.
The processes involved in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases
comprise the following:

• Police Investigation
• Preliminary Investigation
• Issuance of the Prosecutor’s Resolution
• Filing of the Information in Court
• Arrest of the Accused and Posting of Bail
• Arraignment [Plea of Guilty or Not Guilty to the Offense Charged]
• Pre-Trial
• Trial
• Sentencing or Judgment

Figure 2.2
CRIMINAL PROCEDURES IN THE PHILIPPINES, SUMMARY

2 to 3
months

FILING OF
POLICE PRELIMINARY INFORMATION
INVESTIGATION INVESTIGATION/ AND COURT
INQUEST EVALUATION
ARREST
BY VIRTUE
OF
ARREST WARRANT
WITHOUT
WARRANT ARRAIGNMENT

POLICE DETENTION
LOCK UP IN JAIL
11
PRETRIAL months

RELEASE
ON BAIL

TRIAL

COMMITMENT SERVING OF
TO NATIONAL PRISON JUDGEMENT
PRISONS (as SENTENCE (if
required by law) found guilty)

REMEDIES

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3.3.3 Police investigation is done motu propio or upon filing of complaint in the police
station. Investigation is undertaken through surveillance, interview of persons with
knowledge of facts directly or indirectly connected with the offense (including the
suspects who consent to be questioned), entrapment operations, search and seizure
and arrest, interrogation of suspects in police custody and gathering of physical
evidence on the case. The police report is prepared and a case is filed with the
Prosecutor’s Office within the geographical jurisdiction.

3.3.4 As a general rule, no person may be taken into custody except only by virtue of a
warrant of arrest issued by a competent court. Arrest without warrant by a peace
officer or a private person may only be allowed under the following circumstances
specified in the Rules of Court:

• When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually


committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
• When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
• When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.

3.3.5 Alleged offenders subject to such arrest are detained in police lock-up jails for
custodial investigation. Persons under custodial investigation have the following
rights enshrined in the Constitution:

• He must be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the
services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel;
• No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate
the free will shall be used against him; secret detention places, solitary,
incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited;
• Any confession or admission obtained in violation of the foregoing shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him.

3.3.6 A preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is


sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed
and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.

3.3.7 Except in cases of lawful arrest without warrant, a preliminary investigation is


required to be conducted before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense
where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four (4) years, two (2) months and
one (1) day without regard to the fine.

3.3.8 A preliminary investigation is essentially a judicial inquiry since there is the


opportunity to be heard, the production and weighing of evidence, and a decision
rendered on the basis of such evidence. In this sense, the investigating prosecutor is
a quasi-judicial officer. A preliminary investigation is intended:

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• to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution and
to protect him from an open and public accusation of a crime and from the
trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial; and
• to protect the State from having to conduct useless and expensive trials.

3.3.9 The conduct of a preliminary investigation is a substantive right, which the accused
may invoke prior to, or at least at the time of plea, the deprivation of which would be
a denial of his right to due process.

3.3.10 In brief, in the investigation of criminal complaints, the private complainant or the
police files a complaint-affidavit with the prosecutor's office, alleging that a certain
person has committed a criminal offense. As part of due process, the respondent,
who is accused of committing such an offense, is allowed to file a counter-affidavit.
The prosecutor handling the case usually conducts a hearing to verify the allegations
contained in their respective affidavits, and evaluate the supporting documents. In
areas where there are no prosecutors, lower court judges conduct preliminary
investigation.

3.3.11 At this stage, the prosecutor has to establish the standard of "probable cause",
meaning that based on the allegations of the complainant and the respondent, there
is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed, and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof. The finding of probable cause is contained in a
document called a "resolution". If the reviewing official (the city or provincial
prosecutor) approves of the resolution, then the proper information is filed in the
proper court. (The "information" is a formal accusation or charge against a person
who is believed to have committed the crime). If the imposable penalty is below six
years, then the case is filed with the Municipal Trial Court. If the imposable penalty is
more than six years, then the case is filed with the Regional Trial Court.

3.3.12 Inquest on the other hand is an informal and summary investigation conducted by a
public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons arrested and detained without
the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by the court for the purpose of determining
whether or not said persons should remain under custody and correspondingly be
charged in court.

3.3.13 Unless otherwise directed by the City or Provincial Prosecutor, those assigned to
inquest duties discharge their functions during the hours of their designated
assignments and only at the police stations/headquarters of the PNP in order to
expedite and facilitate the disposition of inquest cases. The inquest proceedings
must be terminated within the period prescribed under the provisions of Article 125 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The periods prescribed are:

• 12 hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent;


• 18 hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their
equivalent; and
• 36 hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or
their equivalent.

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3.3.14 Criminal actions are instituted by filing the complaint or information directly with the
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, or the complaint with the
office of the prosecutor. In cases where the preliminary investigation is conducted by
the investigating judge, the investigating judge shall transmit the resolution of the
case to the provincial or city prosecutor. The latter shall then review the resolution of
the investigating judge on the existence of probable cause, and may affirm, modify or
reverse the finding of the judge. The prosecutor shall order the release of an accused
who is detained if no probable cause is found against him.

3.3.15 In the case of a capital offense, (i.e., the possible sentence could be death or life
imprisonment), the complaint has to be resolved within 90 days from the time that the
case is assigned to the prosecutor. In all other cases, whether they are cognizable by
the Regional Trial Court or the Municipal Trial Court, these cases must be resolved
within 60 days from assignment.

3.3.16 The Speedy Trial Act also provides certain time standards within which the case
should be decided, as follows:

• From the time of the filing of the information to arraignment - 30 days


• From the time of arraignment to the first trial day - 30 days
• From the first trial day to the termination of trial - 180 days
• From the termination of the trial to the issuance of the decision - 90 days

3.3.17 Ideally, a criminal case pending with the lower courts should take no more than
eleven (11) months to finish, from the time the charge is filed, to the time that the
decision is promulgated.

3.4 Alternative Justice and Informal Norms of Protection

BARANGAY JUSTICE SYSTEM

3.4.1 The Katarungan Pambarangay System or Lupong Tagapamayapa was created


under the Local Government Code 0f 1991 (LGC) to assist in the settlement of
disputes arising from potential litigants who reside in the same barangay,
municipality or city. Most civil disputes and criminal cases punishable by
imprisonment not exceeding one year or by a fine not exceeding Php5,000, based on
the provisions of the LGC and arising between potential litigants residing in the same
municipality or city, may be brought to the Katarungan Pambarangay. The Barangay
System is the most important mechanism in reaching amicable settlement.

3.4.2 The Barangay Justice System is expected to contribute to the decongestion of court
dockets. The following are its notable features:

• Disputes are settled through mediation and conciliation precedent to court action
rather than through litigation and adjudications
• Conciliation is compulsory since it is a condition precedent to court action
• Lawyers are banned from the conciliation proceedings
• No cost or fees charged for services rendered in connection with the proceedings

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• Conciliators are chosen and appointed by the Barangay Captain from among the
peers and neighbors of the disputants

QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCIES OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH

3.4.3 The quasi-judicial agencies in the executive branch, although not considered as
courts of justice, are empowered to hear and decide on cases provided by their
respective mandates.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

3.4.4 Republic Act 9285 (2004) institutionalizes the use of an alternative dispute resolution
(ADR) system in the Philippines, to promote party autonomy in the resolution of
disputes or the freedom of the party to make their own arrangements to resolve their
disputes. The law likewise directs the active promotion on the use of ADR as an
important means to achieve speedy and impartial justice and de-clog court dockets.

3.4.5 The law defines ADR as any process or procedure used to resolve a dispute or
controversy, other than by adjudication of a presiding judge of a court or an officer of
a government agency, in which a neutral third party participates to assist in the
resolution of issues. ADR includes arbitration, mediation, conciliation, early neutral
evaluation, mini-trial, or any combination of these schemes. There is a current court-
annexed mediation system in the Judiciary which took off from the case congestion
and delay reduction strategy of the APJR (Action Plan for Judicial Reform) and from
learning derived from international experience.

INFORMAL/TRADITIONAL LEGAL SYSTEMS

3.4.6 The 1997 Philippine Constitution provides that the state shall consider the customs,
traditions, beliefs and interests of national cultural communities in the formulation and
implementation of state policies (Art. XIV, sec.17).

3.4.7 Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act was passed, recognizing
the indigenous peoples’ justice system and conflict resolution institutions. This is in
recognition, for example, of the traditional justice systems of the indigenous
communities in the Cordilleras and among the Lumads of Mindanao, whose
traditional practices serve as alternative dispute mechanisms. While the systems
among the indigenous peoples’ justice systems vary in approaches and
methodologies, common to these traditional practices is the participation of the
community members in settling disputes.

3.4.8 PD 1083, enacted prior to the adoption of the 1987 Constitution, provides for the
codification of Muslim Personal Laws and the establishment of a Shari’a Justice
System. By creating a formal system for informal norms of justice, the state
recognizes the uniqueness in their thinking of Muslim Filipinos of what is just and
lawful in civil relationships, from the thinking of the rest of the country as embodied in
our civil laws. Criminality is however still within the purview of the criminal code and
other laws and not within the ambit of the Shari’a justice system.

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3.4.9 Muslim justice is based on religion. Muslim tradition involves strong roles played by
religious leaders in informally settling disputes. Justice is guaranteed to all
regardless of any social and political biases. Thus the judgment is based solely on
the Word of Allah and the teachings and learning from the life, actions and words of
Muhammad as the Prophet. Above all human matters or considerations, which
include man-made laws, is the divine law and the principles of Allah communicated
to man. This is the basis of justice, and it is administered to all.

3.4.10 Among the Muslims, informal settlements particularly on cases involving family and
property matters are preferred over the formal (court) processes. Shari’a court judges
themselves have assumed the role of customary elders that citizens can seek help to
resolve conflicts, an indication of the pervasive informal nature of Muslim dispute
resolution traditions that are deeply imbedded in practice.

3.4 Laws on Vulnerable Sectors

3.4.1 The Philippines has enacted certain laws that will benefit the vulnerable sectors of
the society. Table 2.1 lists some of these major pieces of legislation and the specific
target marginalized groups of each:

Table 2.1
LAWS ON THE PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE SECTORS

SECTOR PHILIPPINE LAW

Victims of unjust An Act Creating a Board of Claims Under the Department of Justice for
imprisonment/ detention RA 7309 Victims of Unjust Imprisonment or Detention and Victims of Violent
and victims of crimes Crimes and for Other Purposes

Defining Certain Rights of Persons, Arrested , Detained or Under


Arrested
RA 7438 Custodial Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining
persons/detainees
and Investigating Officers and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof

Senior citizens RA 9257 Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act of 2003

Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995


Women RA 7877 Declaring Sexual Harassment Unlawful in the Employment , Education, or
Training environment and for Other Purposes

An Act Strengthening the Prohibition on Discrimination Against Women


with Respect to Terms and Conditions of Employment, Amending for the
RA 6725
Purpose Article One Hundred Thirty-Five of the Labor Code , as
Amended

An Act to Declare Unlawful the Practice of Matching for Marriage to


Foreign Nationals on a Mail-Order Basis and for Other Similar Practices,
RA 6955 Including the Advertisement, Publication, Printing or Distribution of
Brochures, Fliers and Other Propaganda Materials in Furtherance
Thereof and Providing Penalty Therefor

An Act Promoting the Integration of Women as Full and Equal Partners of


RA 7192
Men in Development and Nation- Building and for Other Purposes

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SECTOR PHILIPPINE LAW

An Act Increasing Maternity Benefits in Favor of Women Workers in the


RA 7322 Private Sector, Amending for the Purpose Section 14-A of Republic Act
1161, as Amended, and for Other Purposes

An Act Expanding the Definition of the Crime of Rape, Reclassifying the


same as a Crime Against Persons, Amending for the Purpose Act No.
RA 8353 3815, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code, and
for Other Purposes

Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003


An Act to Institute Policies to Eliminate Trafficking in Persons Especially
Women and children RA 9208 Women and Children, Establishing the Necessary Institutional
Mechanisms for the Protection and Support of Trafficked Persons,
Providing Penalties for its Violations, and for Other Purposes

Magna Carta for Disabled Persons


Persons with disabilities An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation, Self-Development and Self-
RA 7277
Reliance of Disabled Persons and their Integration into the Mainstream of
Society and for Other Purposes

Urban Development Housing Act of 1992


Urban poor An Act to Provide for a Comprehensive and Continuing Urban
RA 7279
Development and Housing Program, Establishing the Mechanism for its
Implementation and for Other Purposes

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997


An Act to Recognize, Protect and Promote the Rights of Indigenous
RA 8371
Indigenous peoples Cultural Minorities/Indigenous Peoples, Establishing the Implementing
Mechanisms, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes

An Act to Institute the Policies of Overseas Employment and Establish a


Migrant workers Higher Standard of Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of the
RA 8042
Migrant Workers, Their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress, and
for Other Purposes

4 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY


4.1 Study Perspective: Human Rights and Access to Justice

FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS AS BASIS FOR EQUAL JUSTICE

4.1.1 In 1948 the United Nations passed a resolution which contained the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. The resolution enunciates that all human beings are
born free and equal in dignity and in their rights. And since all human beings are
equal, if their rights and dignity are infringed upon, they are entitled to equal justice.2

2
UNDP, 2005, Ibid.

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NORMS OF PROTECTION AND EQUAL CAPACITIES BETWEEN DUTYHOLDERS


TO PROVIDE REMEDIES AND CLAIMHOLDERS TO DEMAND THE PROVISION
OF REMEDIES – THE CORE FOUNDATION FOR ACCESS TO JUSTICE

4.1.2 But achieving access to equal justice requires fundamental elements: a) that the
formal and informal norms of protection are established in law or tradition and are
understood in a common way; and b) that the two key players in the justice system –
the dutyholders and claimholders have equal capacities: the dutyholders the capacity
to provide remedies and the claimholders the capacity to demand that remedies are
provided (Figure 2.3)

Figure 2.3
FRAMEWORK FOR ACCESS TO JUSTICE

-law enforcement DUTYHOLDERS CLAIMHOLDERS


-prosecution
-courts
-correction NORMATIVE -awareness of rights
CAPACITY TO CAPACITY
-----------------------
PROVIDE PROTECTION TO DEMAND
and laws
policies -capacity to pay
procedures JUSTICE formal, informal JUSTICE
-legal empowerment
competencies REMEDIES REMEDIES
-community empowerment
technologies support mechanisms
resources
integrity
accountability

4.1.3 The UNDP Practitioner’s Guide identifies the capacity of the dutyholders to provide
remedies through formal and informal mechanisms as another key element in
successfully providing a rights-based access to justice. Capacities involve such
factors as institutions and functions (law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and
corrections), their policies and procedures, resources and competencies, their
institutional coordinative relationships as well as their integrity and accountability. All
these affect the accessibility of the means to obtain remedies and the speed,
impartiality and quality of remedies. They also provide the foundation for effective
mechanisms in insulating the system from discrimination and politicization.

4.1.4 The role of informal mechanisms in providing remedies also form an important
integral part of the criminal justice system – community-based conflict resolution,
mediation, conciliation and arbitration, and the traditional Islamic and indigenous
peoples community–based mediation of disputes. Many of these informal and
traditional norms of protection have been formalized into law now forming part of the
formal system of justice. The establishment of the 56 Shari’a district and circuit

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courts in Mindanao for instance formalized Islamic traditional and customary laws
and integrated them into the formal justice system.

4.1.5 The creation of 23 quasi-judicial bodies in the national government to mediate,


arbitrate or conciliate disputes within the functional jurisdiction of departments also
formalizes customary dispute resolution mechanisms. The adoption of community
policing and community-police partnerships integrates formal and non-formal
components into a more cohesive crime prevention and solution mechanism.

4.1.6 The framework posits that equal access to justice would be difficult if the community
and citizens, particularly the poor and vulnerable groups themselves, lack the
capacity to demand remedies. Claimholders comprising of the aggrieved parties or
victims, as well as those accused must have the capacities, including the following:

a) Awareness and sufficient understanding of the remedies available and how to


obtain them;
b) Legal empowerment by having access to quality legal counsel;
c) Capacity to pay or support in the payment of the cost of litigation; and
d) Where necessary, have support from the community in cases where political
empowerment is necessary to obtain justice against the powerful.

4.2 Integration Approach

4.2.1 The study starts with the recognition that the integration of the criminal justice system
is in the inter-connectivity of and inextricable relationship among the functions of its
pillars and that these functions are actually connected through seamlessly linked and
sequential processes and operating within the context of a sound and effective legal
framework (normative protection).

4.2.2 Such that, to achieve the stated goals, the pillars of the criminal justice system must
be linked, each with appropriate capacity to perform its component functions, and
each is performing these functions well. The defined functional linkages provide the
framework for the subsequent assessment and identification of reform
recommendations.

4.2.3 The study looks at the entire criminal justice system in relation to the outcomes that it
must achieve and at the same time considers each of the 5 pillars as integral
components of the system.

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Figure 2.4
FUNCTIONALLY INTEGRATED CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
CRIMINAL
CRIMINAL JUSTICE FUNCTIONS AND PROCESSES JUSTICE
OUTCOMES

PROVIDE SUPPORT MECHANISMS FOR RESTORATION AND MAINSTREAMING


OF OFFENDERS, MONITORS PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF OFFENDERS

ACT AS WITNESS

ACT AS WITNESS THE RIGHT


PROVIDE LEGAL COUNSEL,
COMMUNITY SUPPORT
PERSON IS
-CONDUCT
INVESTIGATION -CONDUCT INVESTIGATION CONVICTED
-ARREST SUSPECT -ESTABLISH PROBABLE
PROVIDE -PREPARE CASE CAUSE ACCESSIBLE,
FILE CASE IN COURT DETERMINE, PROMULGATE
INFORMATION -GATHER, PROCESS SPEEDY,
-PROSECUTE REMEDIES PENALTIES
EVIDENCE
IMPARTIAL,
FAIR
PROCESS
LAW
PROVIDED
COMMUNITY ENFORCEMENT PROSECUTION COURTS CORRECTION
APPROPRIATE
REMEDIES
ENFORCED

HUMAN AND
- PROVIDE WITNESS -COLLABORATE IN WORK TOGETHER LEGAL
PROTECTION CASE, EVIDENCE TOWARDS SPEEDY
PREPARATION TRIAL PROCESS RIGHTS ARE
- ASSIST COMMUNITY RESPECTED
IN BUILDING CAPACITY
TO SUPPORT CRIME
INVESTIGATION CONVICT
COLLABORATE AND ASSIST IN
PROVIDED
PROVIDING QUALITY WITNESSING OPPORTUNITY

ENFORCE SENTENCE, PROVIDE MECHANISMS FOR RESTORATION AND MAINSTREAMING


OF OFFENDERS, ENSURE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF OFFENDERS

LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK

4.2.4 The study focuses on the institutional capacity components in each pillar that directly
contributes to the overall effective functioning of the integrated criminal justice
system. These are the resources (human, financial, logistical and technological),
operating rules and procedures in criminal cases, human competencies and human
values (such as integrity, impartiality, honesty and sense of duty). This approach is
depicted in Figure 2.4. Within the context of a reforming and/or evolving system,
leadership and management quality become critical factors of a well-functioning
integrated criminal justice system.

4.2.5 After assessing the directly contributing capacity components, the study proceeded
to the underlying capacity components of the each pillar – the mandates and
functions, institutional structures, administrative and financial management policies,
processes and practices; institutional administrative relationships; and support
operating systems. These are also reviewed in terms of their implications on such

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issues as independence and politicization; human competency, motivation, and


integrity values; capacities to attract and retain quality personnel; capacities for
continuing competency and institutional improvement; and other related issues.

4.2.6 The capacity assessment of each of the 4 pillars and the corresponding reform
recommendations were undertaken deriving guidance from the CPRM capacity
assessment and development framework for individual institutions. The framework
which is depicted in Figure 2.5 is anchored on the view that each pillar contributes to
the overall performance of the criminal justice system in accordance with its capacity.
The assessment attempts to answer the following question:

What capacities must be built within each pillar in order for it to contribute to
a well-functioning criminal justice system that provides access to justice
within the context of human rights?

4.2.7 The framework identifies the various areas and components in an organization that
determines or affects its capacity to perform its functions and achieve its mission or
mandate:

a) structure, functions and functional linkages


b) production and delivery systems or mission-critical systems
c) behavioral systems
d) management and development systems
e) core resources – financial, technological, physical and human

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Figure 2.5
CAPACITY FRAMEWORK FOR A FUNCTIONALLY INTEGRATED CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
CRIMINAL
PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS JUSTICE
OUTCOMES
1. RIGHT PERSON IS ARRESTED

2. GOOD CASE PREPARATION AND EFFICIENT, IMPARTIAL LITIGATION


PROCESS THE RIGHT
PERSON IS
a) PRODUCTION OF a) GOOD USE OF a) SPEEDY, IMPARTIAL
CONVICTED
GOOD EVIDENCE EVIDENCE AND LITIGATION PROCESS
b) NO POLICE WITNESSES b) APPROPRIATE DECISION
ACCESSIBLE,
MISCONDUCT OR b) NO PROSECUTOR AND SENTENCE
SPEEDY,
UNINTENDED MISCONDUCT OR c) NO JUDGE MISCONDUCT
3. HUMAN LIVING CONDITIONS, IMPARTIAL,
MISTAKES MISTAKES OR MISTAKES
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FAIR
c) GOOD DEFENSE PROVIDED PROCESS
LAWYERING PROVIDED
4. ACCESSIBLE SERVICES OF EACH PILLAR – GEOGRAPHICAL CONVENIENCE, AFFORDABILITY, THERE IS USER CAPACITY TO ACCESS,
INSTITUTIONS PROVIDE FACILITATIVE, ASSISTIVE CULTURE IN SERVICE DELIVERY APPROPRIATE
REMEDIES
ENFORCED
LAW HUMAN AND
COMMUNITY ENFORCEMENT PROSECUTION COURTS CORRECTION LEGAL
RIGHTS ARE
RESPECTED
1. POLICE STATION 1. RESOURCES OF FIELD 1. RESOURCES OF
1. RESOURCES FOR 1. COURT RESOURCES CONVICT
RESOURCES PROSECUTORS 2. RULES OF COURT CORRECTION
SOCIAL DEFENSE PROVIDED
2. INVESTIGATION OFFICES 3. CASE MANAGEMENT INSTITUTIONS
2. WITNESS OPPORTUNITY
PROCEDURES AND 2. PRELIMINARY 2. OPERATING SYSTEMS
PROTECTION PROCESSES AND
TECHNOLOGY INVESTIGATION, CASE AND PROCEDURES
3. COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY
3. POLICE REPORT AND PREPARATION 4. HUMAN COMPETENCY. AND TECHNOLOGY
EDUCATION AND
COURT WITNESSING PROCESSES AND INTEGRITY AND 3. RESTORATIVE
INFORMATION
4. ARREST PROCEDURES TECHNOLOGIES JUSTICE POLICIES
4. COMMUNITY IMPARTIALITY
5. HUMAN COMPETENCY 3. CASE MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAMS
PARTNERSHIPS 5. COURT JURISDICTIONAL
QUALITY AND PROCESSES AND STRUCTURE
5. INTEGRITY
INTEGRITY TECHNOLOGIES
6. COMMUNITY 4. HUMAN COMPETENCY,
PARTNERSHIPS AND INTEGRITY
CRIMINAL
CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT AREAS JUSTICE
OUTCOMES

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Figure 2.6
CAPACITY ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
INTEGRITY SYSTEMS ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES
• Synergy, Synchronization and
• Internal Control Complementation
• Transparency • Distribution Philosophy
• Accountability

STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS PRODUCTION DELIVERY


SYSTEMS EFFECTIVE
• Formal Structure • Process
ISSUES TO • Informal Structure • Technology
ORGANIZATIONAL
ADDRESS, • Linkages • Production Techniques PERFORMANCE
• Decision and Communication • Scope of Operational Decision-

INPUTS FOR
Ladders making Authority • Efficiency
PROCESSING • Quality
MANAGEMENT BEHAVIOR SYSTEMS
• Responsiveness
& DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS
• Recruitment
• Timeliness
• Mandate • Remuneration
• Plan-Program-Budget • Career Path, Incentives
• Policies and Procedures and Rewards
• R & D Innovation • Workplace Quality
• Performance Management

BASIC RESOURCES

FinancialO PhysicalO Manpower : Technological

4.2.8 Utilizing the capacity assessment and development framework the study analyzed
the various reform areas identified in the previous studies and identified pillar-specific
as well as system wide reforms that will be needed in order to achieve integrated
reform impacts in the five pillars of the criminal justice.

PILLARS OF JUSTICE AREAS OF REFORM


AND INTEGRATION

LAW ENFORCEMENT
POLICIES

PROSECUTION
PROCESSES
INTEGRATION
JUDICIARY
FUNCTIONS AND STRUCTURES

CORRECTION TECHNOLOGIES

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

4.2.9 Reforms will be identified in the indicated reform areas both at the individual pillar
level and system-wide level toward achieving a system integration, holistic reform
impact on the criminal justice system. An implementation strategy which will provide
the proper sequencing of the inter-pillar reforms and the general implementation
organizational and operational arrangements will be formulated.

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3
SYNTHESIS OF THE DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES

1 INTRODUCTION
1.1.1 This chapter puts in perspective the desk review and the recommended roadmap for
criminal justice system reforms by placing these within the context of the system’s
performance. Consistent with the approach, the assessment examines the strengths
and weaknesses of criminal justice system and defines the implications of the
findings for an integrated criminal justice reform program.

2 PERFORMANCE IN PROVIDING JUSTICE REMEDIES


2.1.1 The determination of the overall performance of the criminal justice system in
providing justice remedies is ultimately established by the performance statistics of
our courts, where the various processes by the other pillars in seeking remedies
unfold and converge. The pace and quality of the litigation process is influenced by
several factors that are outside of the judicial institutions – the ability to produce the
right witness and present evidence and to arrest the suspect by the law enforcement
agencies; the quality and pace of case preparation and preliminary investigation and
leads to the establishment of a probable cause by the prosecution; the competence
of prosecutors and defenders; the availability, quality and cooperation of witnesses;
and other relevant factors. The performance of the courts therefore would serve to
synthesize to a large extent the overall performance of the criminal justice system.

LOW CLEARANCE RATES INDICATE THAT THERE IS A HUGE CASE BACKLOG


PRACTICALLY IN ALL LOWER COURTS, CREATING CASE GONGESTION.
DISPOSITION RATES ARE HOWEVER MUCH HIGHER, INDICATING
HARDWORKING JUDGES WITH IMPROVED CAPABILITY IN HANDLING CASES.

2.1.2 Clearance rates have remained consistently low over the years averaging at 42.94%
within the period 2000-2004 (Table 3.2). However, disposition rates have also
remained consistently very high averaging at 104.09% annually during the same
period. Considering that the average caseloads of judges range from 300 – 3,000
cases annually the numbers indicate hardworking judges with improved capabilities
in handling cases.

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Table 3.1
ANNUAL CASELOAD AND CLEARANCE RATES
Lower Courts, 2000-2004

CLEARANCE
TOTAL
YEAR TOTAL DISPOSED RATE
CASELOAD
(%)
2000 1,510,558 685,977 40.63
2001 1,416,667 575,699 37.15
2002 1,405,972 587,093 41.75
2003 1,352,452 529,553 39.15
2004 1,534,528 905,925 56.03
SOURCE: OCA, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Table 3.2
ANNUAL CASEFLOWS AND DISPOSITION RATES
Lower Courts, 2000-2004

DISPOSTION
YEAR INFLOWS OUTFLOWS RATE
(%)
2000 695,417 685,977 98.64
2001 592,086 575,699 97.23
2002 565,004 587,093 103.90
2003 533,573 529,553 99.24
2004 745,737 905,925 121.48
SOURCE: OCA, Supreme Court of the Philippines

ARCHIVAL RATES CONTINUE TO COMPRISE A SIGNIFICANT


PROPORTION OF TOTAL OUTPUTS OF THE LOWER COURTS,
AVERAGING AT 32.86% OF ANNUAL CASES DISPOSED

2.1.3 Interviews with clerks of courts during previous diagnostic studies indicated that
about 80% of total annual caseloads are criminal cases and that high archival
rates were due to the non-apprehension of suspects within the prescribed 6-
month period. Beyond this period, a criminal case is to be considered inactive
and therefore archived. In many cases the suspects could not be found.

2.1.4 With low clearance rates accompanied by high archival rates and low
decision/resolution rates an estimated 25.07% or only 1 out of 4 cases filed in the
courts are effectively provided justice remedies.

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Table 3.3
COMPOSITION OF JUDICIAL ACTIONS
Lower Courts, 2000-2004

CASES RESOLVED/
ARCHIVAL RATE
DECIDED
YEAR % OF % OF ALL % OF % OF ALL
TOTAL CASES TOTAL CASES
CASELOAD DISPOSED CASELOAD DISPOSED
2000 23.42 51.56 15.64 34.43
2001 23.78 58.52 13.43 33.05
2002 24.79 59.38 14.58 39.91
2003 23.96 61.21 12.55 32.06
2004 29.60 50.15 14.67 24.86
SOURCE: OCA, Supreme Court of the Philippines

A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF CASES IN THE LOWER COURTS ARE


MORE THAN 2 YEARS OLD.

2.1.5 Huge case backlogsalso means case delay. A survey of the cases in the lower
courts conducted with assistance from the PHRD Grant, World Bank indicated
that a significant portion of surveyed cases, ranging from 13-33%, has remained
open after 2 years (Prof. Hunter, CDDRP, WB, 2002).

Table 3.4
PRESCRIBED TIME DURATIONS IN THE PROCESSING
OF CASES IN THE COURTS

DURATION SPECIFIED BY LAW


LEGAL BASIS, STAGE IN THE PROCESS
YEARS MONTHS DAYS

SPEEDY TRIAL ACT

From filing of information to arraignment 30

From time of arraignment to first day of trial 30

From the first day of trial to the termination of trial 180

From termination of trial to the issuance of decision 90

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

Duration within which cases should be decided from


submission

• Supreme Court 24

• Lower Collegiate Courts 12

• All Lower Courts 3

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2.1.6 More knowledge has been gained over time on the causes of delay primarily by
two important studies: The Criminal Justice System by Prof Feliciano and Muyot,
and the Case Decongestion and Delay Reduction Strategy (CDDRP) Phase 1, by
CPRM and Prof. Hunter, both funded under the World Bank’s PHRD Grant.

2.1.7 The survey indicated that a significant proportion of civil and criminal cases in all
lower courts exceeded the time limits prescribed by law. Prof. Hunter’s findings
on the surveyed cases reveal that time duration was affected by the type of the
case or the matter involved the location of the court, and the type of court which
had jurisdiction over the case, implying the nature of the case.

Table 3.5
PERCENT OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES EXCEEDING
PRESCRIBED TIME LIMITS, LOWER COURTS

COURT CIVIL CRIMINAL

RTC 57.6 46.1


METC 38.8 51.4
MTCC 57.0 27.4
MTC 35.1 51.2
MCTC 50.0 34.6
Source: Prof. Rosemary Hunter, CPRM, CDDRP, SC-WB, 2002,

2.1.7 The causes of delay in the courts were explained very incisively and extensively in
Feliciano and Muyot, 1 to come from various sources (Figure 3.a):

a) Court attributable delay

ƒ Ignorance of judges to developments in law and jurisprudence and scant


knowledge in rules on procedure, and deficiencies in judicial writing where
judges are wanting in precision, clarity, coherence and depth. These have
created another layer of delay through repetitive appeals and justices in the
higher courts, considering the need to review the entire proceedings due to
the lack of reliability of poorly written decisions
ƒ Conduct of trials on a piece-meal basis, absenteeism and tardiness of
judge and lawyers at scheduled hearings, leniency of judges in granting
postponements, judge’s laxity in the enforcement of rules of procedures,
and abuse by lawyers of rules of procedure; and
ƒ Failure of process servers and sheriffs to act immediately on an order of
execution.

b) Lawyer- related delay

ƒ Lawyers’ propensity to: (a) file petitions for mandamus, prohibitions, and
certiorari even for interlocutory orders of the lower courts in order to delay
the case and for postponements and extensions; (b) offer flimsy reasons

1
Prof. Myrna Feliciano and Alberto T. Muyot, The Philippine Criminal Justice System, PHRD Grant, World Bank and Supreme Court of
the Philippines, 2000

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for not appearing in court; and (c) protract cross examination. Lawyers
are said to do these to hopefully improve the position of their clients as the
case drags.
ƒ Lawyer’s lack of preparation for hearings that trigger requests for
extension, postponements and dilatory tactics High caseloads of lawyers
have been cited as one of the main reasons for this.

c) Delay caused by other agencies

ƒ Police related causes of delay including: (a) laboratory findings not


submitted promptly to the court; (b) cases not transmitted on time to the
prosecutors office; (c) non-appearance during trial by police and
prosecutor; (d) failure to effect a valid arrest by the police; (e) lack of
coordination between prosecutor and police; (f) investigations and inquiries
taking too long and constraint in issuing a warrant until proper information
has been filed in the court; (g) preliminary investigation being appealed to
the Secretary of Justice; (h) delay in postal service delivery of pleadings
and orders sent via registered mail; and (i) defective documentation of
cases from police and prosecutor.

d) Institutional deficiency related delay

ƒ limited budget and physical facilities


ƒ delays in judicial appointments

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Figure 3.a CAUSES OF CASE DELAY IN THE PROVISION OF JUSTICE REMEDIES

LAWYER ATTRIBUTED DELAY


-Notorious filing of petitions for extensions and postponements
-Absence, tardiness and ill-preparedness of lawyers
-Lack of competence in discovery proceedings
-Abuse of procedures and provisional remedies (such as TROs)
-Heavy lawyer caseload and indiscriminate acceptance of caseload resulting in incompetence
-Protracting of cross - examinations
-Propensity to elevate cases by filing petitions for mandamus, prohibition or certiorari
JUDGE ATTRIBUTED DELAY
-Insufficient knowledge of developments in law and jurisprudence
-Deficient knowledge of court procedures
- Judge absenteeism and tardiness
-Trials are conducted on piece-meal basis
-Leniency in granting of postponements by judges and laxity in enforcement of rules of procedures
-Lack of competence in judicial decision-writing (decisions wanting in precision, clarity, coherence and depth
-Poor administrative skills, poor case management, laziness, inefficiency, and corruption DELAY
OF CASES
LAW ENFORCEMENT ATTRIBUTED DELAY IN COURTS
-Delay in transmittal of case to Prosecutor’s Office
-Protracted investigations and inquiries thus preliminary investigation remains unresolved
-Evidence not promptly submitted to the court
-Non-appearance during trial
-Failure to effect a valid arrest
-Lack of internal coordination
-Poor case documentation
-Weak coordination with prosecutor in case preparation
PROSECUTOR ATTRIBUTED DELAY
-Protracted investigations and inquiries thus preliminary investigation remains unresolved
-Preliminary investigation findings are appealed to the Secretary of Justice
-Heavy prosecutor caseload
-Deficient prosecutor competencies

DELAY CAUSED BY INSTITUTIONAL WEAKNESSES


-Lack of court resources and facilities
-Inefficiencies in the postal service particularly delays in the delivery of notices
-Delays in the filling up of judicial vacancies
-Weaknesses in the judicial appointments system
-Complicated rules couched in complex language
-Insufficient training
-Lack of formal systems for ensuring inter-pillar coordination
-Weak crime information management system as well as information sharing and system integration
-Deficient case management system and tools and information technology support across pillars

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2.1.8 Delays could also be pointed to the poor case management systems in the lower
courts. The CDDRP survey showed postponements civil and criminal cases in all
lower courts. The reasons were the same: non-appearance of lawyers, prosecutors
and judges. Many judges still have the tendency to schedule more cases that can be
realistically heard in the hope that should there be postponements, enough cases
would be ready, and thereby enable them to maximize the use of time. The current
practice of judges particularly in high –caseload courts is to schedule 20 hearings per
day. However, the daily hearing hours of judges is only 5 hours. It would be thus
physically impossible to complete the scheduled 20 hearings. Anecdotal information
indicated the completion of only about 2 cases in a day. The lawyers contend that
this method of over-scheduling hearings and trials results in unmitigated loss of time
on the part of the parties concerned, the witnesses and lawyers who are compelled
to spend hours, and even days, idly waiting for their turn to be heard. The eroded
credibility of the hearing schedules might have further contributed to the reasons for
the non-appearance of lawyers, parties and prosecutors, and consequently has also
contributed to the delay.

2.1.9 The CDDRP survey data and Prof. Hunter’s findings also suggest that the limited use
of pre-trial may have contributed to the protraction of trial periods, particularly in
criminal cases, and also to the increase in number of cases that go to trial. This was
supported by judges who view that failure to settle at the barangay level renders pre-
trial irrelevant. These situations prevail despite the requirement for a mandatory pre-
trial for criminal cases under the rules of court and the Speedy Trial Act.

THERE IS DELAY AND HIGH ACQUITTAL RATES IN SANDIGANBAYAN CASES

2.1.10 Prof. Hunter’s findings under the CDDRP survey showed that the Sandiganbayan
has the longest median duration of 6.6 years, with a minimum of 1.5 years and a
maximum of 11 years. In more than 75% of cases the accused persons were
acquitted. The court is treated with little respect as evidenced by the high proportion
of postponements due to the non-appearance of a party, non-appearance of counsel,
non-appearance of a witness, or inability of counsel to proceed.

2.1.11 Former Ombudsman Marcelo expressed that the average workload of 441 cases per
justice is heavy. Since Sandiganbayan justices work in divisions, each division
effectively handles more than 1,000 cases per year. According to the Ombudsman,
corruption cases are complex and difficult, and suggested that less complex
corruption cases be reassigned to the lower courts, thus allowing the Sandiganbayan
to focus on more complex and bigger cases. The Ombudsman further suggested the
restructuring of the Sandiganbayan such that some cases can even be assigned to
individual justices instead of divisions.

LOW CONVICTION RATES CHARACTERIZE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE


PROSECUTION SYSTEM

2.1.12 The disposition rate for prosecution of cases2 which are already pending with the
courts as of 2002 was only 16.90% 3, reinforcing the delay indicated in the statistics

2
Include cases for trial in RTC, cases for trial in MTC/MCTC/MTCC, and cases for trial in RTC/MTC/MCTC referred by other offices.
3
150,015 cases disposed out of 887,744 cases for trial.

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of the courts. Conviction rate was at a low of 18.06%. Relatively, archival and
dismissal rates were much higher at 33.80% and 33.69%, respectively. The
underlying reasons for these statistical results should be extensively analyzed.
Although not supported by empirical data, one reason that may be attributed to the
high rate of dismissal is the settlement of cases between the parties involved. With
respect to the high rate of archival, one probable reason is the lack of witnesses to
proceed with the case.
Table 3.6
DISPOSITION OF CASES AT THE RTC AND MTC/MCTC/MTCC FOR Y2002

Conviction rate4 18.06%

Acquittal rate5 4.53%


6
Percentage dismissed 33.69%
7
Percentage archived 33.80%

Transferred/Referred/Others8 9.92%
Source: NPS

IT IS SAID THAT WHEN A CASE IS FILED IN THE OMBUDSMAN IT IS 70%


LIKELY TO BE DISMISSED

2.1.13 The profile of dispositive actions on preliminary investigation of criminal and


administrative cases/complaints, as presented in Table 3.7, reveals that a large
percentage of these cases (73% for criminal and 91% for administrative) were
disposed through dismissal/exoneration or termination, and only 27% and 9%,
respectively, were prosecuted and penalized.

2.1.14 About 34% of the disposed administrative cases were referred to other government
agencies for action. These cases are thus reported as closed or terminated. The
other 57% of administrative cases were considered as dismissed. On the other hand,
criminal cases which were no longer pursued and closed or terminated account for
only about 3% of the disposed cases, leaving 70% of the criminal cases having been
actually dismissed. The OMB staff initially mentioned that about 50% of these cases
have been received directly by the OMB’s Preliminary Investigation and Adjudication
Bureau (meaning they did not pass the fact-finding procedures of OMB’s Fact finding
and Intelligence Bureau). But this information is not enough in explaining the high
dismissal rate. Lack of evidence, deficient competencies among investigators, case
withdrawal, absence of mechanisms to protect witnesses and complainants, etc.
would comprise some of the many possible reasons for high dismissal rates. Based
simply on the current trend, it may be said that when a criminal case is filed in the
OMB, there is a 70% chance that it will be dismissed.

4
25,765 convictions out of 142,693 cases disposed.
5
6,467 acquittals out of 142,693 cases disposed.
6
48,070 cases dismissed out of 142,693 cases disposed.
7
48,229 cases archived out of 142,693 cases disposed.
8
14,162 cases transferred/referred/others out of 142,693 cases disposed.

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Table 3.7
DISPOSITIVE ACTION/DISPOSAL RATE
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF CRIMINAL CASES, 1994-2003

Disposal
Particulars 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Total
Rate (%)

Prosecuted 1060 1521 1506 2210 2166 2017 2209 1374 1268 1369 16700 27

- regular courts 430 958 1265 1772 1800 1638 1938 1196 1229 1278 13504 81

-Sandiganbayan 630 563 241 438 366 379 271 178 39 91 3196 19

Dismissed/Closed
4851 4262 5109 6848 5208 4137 5850 3882 2665 3088 45900 73
or Terminated

TOTAL 5911 5783 6615 9058 7374 6154 8059 5256 3933 4457 62600 100
Source: OMB

CONGESTION, SUB-HUMAN CONDITIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND


LACK OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE PERSIST IN PHILIPPINE JAILS DESPITE
REPORTS AND ADVISORIES COMING FROM HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL SOCIETY
AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS.

2.1.15 The seven national penitentiaries house about 25,000 inmates as of December 31,
2002 vis-à-vis their total capacity of only 19,600 or 28% over and above their
maximum capacities. Congestion has been attributed to several factors, among
which is the increase in the number of arrests by law enforcement agencies, inability
of detainees to post bails, slow implementation of decongestion laws, and delay in
rendering decisions/adjudication actions by the courts.9
Table 3.8
OCCUPANCY CONDITION IN NATIONAL PENITENTIARIES, 2000

ACTUAL % TO CONGESTION
NATIONAL PENITENTIARY CAPACITY
POPULATION ACTUAL RATE (%)

New Bilibid Prison (NBP) 8,700 16,134 65 85

Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) 500 951 4 90

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) 3,500 1,974 8 -

Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF) 3,100 3,005 12 -

San Ramon prison and Penal Farm (SRPPF) 1,300 1,000 4 -

Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm (SPPF) 1,500 1,050 4 -

Leyte Regional Prison (LRP) 1,000 888 3 -

Total 19,600 25,002 100 28


Source: BuCor

9
The Judiciary has been implementing programs to address delay and docket congestion in courts, to include: dispute settlement through
the Katarungang Pambaranggay; continuing judicial education; continuing trial system; monitoring of judicial performance; and continuing
reforms in court rules/procedures.

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2.1.16 While there is general congestion, there is also an apparent inequitable population
distribution in national jails, where some jails are overpopulated while others are
under-populated. The NBP in Muntinlupa City and the CIW in Mandaluyong City
have population twice their capacities, while the IPPF in Puerto Princesa, Palawan
has only about 56 percent occupancy rate (1,974 out of 3,500). About 300 and 450
more prisoners could be placed in SRPPF in Zamboanga City and SPPF in Mindoro
Occidental, respectively, while the DPPF in Davao and LRP in Leyte could still house
95 and 112 additional inmates, respectively, to full capacity.

2.1.17 But redistribution of prisoners will not be easy since transfers require orders from the
court. Politics also play a part in the process, specifically when politicians interfere in
the transfer of favored prisoners. Usually, prisoners look for sponsors who would
restrain their possible transfer to the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm where they are
made to do farm work.

2.1.18 Congestion contributes to the worsening of jail conditions. A study in 1993 of the
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the existing conditions of 619 correctional
institutions, including national prisons, in the country 10 confirmed that inmates in
more than 50 percent of the covered institutions are deprived of the basic needs for
food, shelter/living space, water and lighting.

2.1.19 The CHR observed that problems on food insufficiency, delay in release of food
allotment, inadequate and unsanitary food preparation and lack of food provision
prevail in said institutions. In 1992 when the food allowance of a prisoner was
Php20.00 per day (meal allowance is currently at Php 40.00 per inmate per day),
there were jails that were provided with a daily food allowance of as low as PhP 7.00
per inmate.

2.1.20 Old, dilapidated prison cells; congestion; lack of separate cells for female inmates
and youth offenders; poor ventilation and lighting facilities; defective water system;
unsanitary cells and comfort rooms; and inadequate provisions for sleeping materials
(beds/bunks, mats/blankets, pillows, etc.) are prevalent in most penal
establishments, contributing to the sub-standard situations of inmates.

2.1.21 Human rights violations in jails observed by the CHR include breach of constitutional
right against self-incrimination, threat against life, confinement in bartolina, lack of
preliminary investigation, absence of commitment order from the court, failure of
prison officers to bring prisoners/detainees to court hearings on scheduled dates,
denial of the right to counsel and to speedy trial, illegal and arbitrary arrest and
detention, torture, maltreatment, physical injuries, sexual harassment and abuse
against chastity. 11 There are inmates who have been confined for already more
than three years, yet the courts have not given the necessary decision on their
cases.

2.1.22 The CHR findings were reinforced by a survey of inmates conducted by CPRM for
UNDP and the Supreme Court. Convicted or sentenced prisoners in city jails within
NCR spend an average of 11.5 months before the final hearing on their cases is

10
Commission on Human Rights, “A Study on the Existing Conditions of Jails and Correctional Institutions in the Philippines”, October 1993
11
Ibid.

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made. They have been incarcerated for a minimum of 32 days and a maximum of
almost 8 years before the final court hearing of their cases has been completed.
Table 3.9
LENGTH OF TIME FROM ARREST TO LAST HEARING OF CASE, APRIL 2003
(SENTENCED INMATES)

Percentage of Prisoners Reporting


Number of
Months/Years City Jails Within City Jails Outside
Provincial Jails National Prisons
NCR NCR
Less than 1 month 10.5 2.2
1 Mo. - < 2 Mos. 13.8 1.8 4.3 2.5
2 Mos. - < 3 Mos. 10.3 10.5 4.3 4.7
3 Mos. - < 4 Mos. 10.3 3.5 4.3 1.5
4 Mos. - < 5 Mos. 13.8 3.5 4.3 2.9
5 Mos. - < 6 Mos. 3.4 7.0 3.3
6 Mos. - < 1 Year 24.1 15.8 13.0 12.0
1 Year - < 2 Years 3.4 21.1 26.1 20.4
2 Year - < 3 Years 10.3 19.3 8.7 15.3
3 Year - < 4 Years 6.9 3.5 8.7 12.0
4 Year - < 5 Years 3.4 1.8 8.7 5.5
More than 5 Years 1.8 17.4 17.8
Minimum 32 days 4 days 32 days 4 days
1,623 days
Maximum 5.8 years 9.2 years 46 years
or 7.9 years

Mean 11.5 months 1.3 years 2.7 years 3.2 years


Source: BuCor

2.1.23 In the case of convicted or sentenced prisoners in jails outside NCR, the average of
time spent by inmates from their arrest to last date of case hearing is 1.3 years. The
minimum is 4 days and the maximum is almost 6 years. Sentenced inmates in
provincial jails waited for an average of 3 years from the time of their arrest until the
last hearing of their cases. The minimum waiting time is 32 days and the maximum
is 9.2 years. Surveyed inmates in the national prisons waited for an average of 3.2
years from the date of arrest until they had their last case hearing. The minimum
waiting time is 4 days, while the maximum is 46 years. About 18% of the total
inmates surveyed have waited for more than five years until the last hearing of their
case has been conducted.

PROBLEMS ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE BY PRISONERS ARE REINFORCED BY


THEIR LACK OF CAPACITY TO DEMAND JUSTICE REMEDIES

2.1.24 Lack of access to justice and weak capacities to demand justice remedies are
indicated in the following survey findings:

a) Only 1 of every 5 inmates in NCR jails know of the availability of free legal
services to poor litigants and there are more inmates in these jails who do not
know of any office or agency that could help them on their legal requirements.

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However, more than 50% of inmates in city, provincial and national jails outside
NCR, know of the existence of PAO and its available services from the
Department of Justice, the courts when they were being arraigned and co-
inmates.
b) Almost 80% of the total sample inmates in all types of jails were informed by
their co-inmates, arresting officers or lawyers that they could be temporarily
released from detention through posting of bail. However, because of poverty,
only a limited number of inmates had resorted to this mode of release.
c) More than three-fifths of the sample male and female inmates in the different
jails/prisons have knowledge of these requirements in serving warrants of
arrest. Arresting officers, co-inmates and visiting friends, usually supply
inmates with information in regard the matter.
d) A higher percentage (above 50%) of inmates detained in city jails and
provincial jails know about this right, as compared to those in the national
prisons (only between 39% to 47%). They learned about such right from co-
inmates and other sources especially the media. Around 53% of the male
inmates and 60% of the female inmates who are serving their sentences in
national prisons hardly know about this right.
e) Seven in every ten inmates, male or female, in any type of jail, know that they
have the right to legal counsel, or that they could be represented by a lawyer in
court. They got this information from their co-inmates or from other sources.
f) Above 50% of the inmates from the different types of jails/prisons know that
there exist rules on separating youth from adult offenders to protect juvenile
delinquents. They knew about this from their co-inmates or from the jail staff.
g) More than 50% of male and female inmates have no knowledge of the legal
procedures to be undertaken after detention. A higher percentage of inmates in
city jails within NCR and national prisons fall under this situation.

POLICE STATISTICS ON CRIME INCIDENCE (REPORTED CRIMES) AND


SOLUTION RATE DO NOT MATCH THE HIGH CASE INFLOWS AND HIGH
ARCHIVAL RATES IN THE LOWER COURTS.

2.1.25 The assessment of the performance of the police in meaningfully contributing to


providing appropriate justice remedies is constrained by sheer deficiency of crime
and performance information within the PNP and NBI. Table 3.10 below contains
annual crime volume as reported by the PNP. The table indicates a decreasing trend
in annual crime incidence. What is disturbing about the data is that with the annual
crime statistics translate to an average caseload of 1.32 cases annually for each of
the more than 110,000 uniformed personnel in the PNP and yet the police-population
ratio in the Philippines which is at 1:700 is considered to be lower than the
international benchmark of 1:500.

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Table 3.10
ANNUAL CRIME VOLUMES, 1995 – 2003

TOTAL CRIME INCREASE/DECREASE


YEAR
VOLUME In %
1995 79,258
1996 76,915 -2.96
1997 71,080 -7.59
1998 71,575 0.70
1999 82,538 15.32
2000 80,108 -2.94
2001 76,997 -3.88
2002 85,776 11.4
2003 83,704 -2.42
SOURCE: Crime Statistics from DIDM, PNP: 2004

2.1.26 One other disturbing information based on statistics is the reported high crime
solution rate (89.34%) by the PNP, which is incredibly much higher than countries
with more equipped and resourced police forces. If 9 out of 10 reported crimes are
solved, what explains then the more than 30% archival rate in criminal cases in the
courts, which according to previous studies can be attributed to the non-
apprehension of the suspect?

Table 3.11
CRIME SOLUTION RATE
SELECTED COUNTRIES

COUNTRY % OF CRIMES
SOLVED
PHILIPPINES 89.34
USA 21.6
CANADA 45.0
JAPAN 58.0
BRITAIN 35.0
SOURCE: PNP 2003; BAYLEY, 1996

AUSTRALIA 30.0
SOURCE: PNP 2003, BAYLEY 1994

2.1.27 Anecdotal information obtained under a UNDP-assisted diagnostic study of the PNP
indicated that policemen were required to present a rosy picture of their performance,
such that reports were altered to depict an improved crime situation and crime
solution rate.

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2.1.28 There is also lack of observance of rules of procedures and human rights standards
in crime investigation. The presentation of suspects before the media, with the
witnesses pointing to the victim, is a practice by law enforcers today. This is
however prejudicial to the person’s rights to be presumed innocent and to a fair trial.
Anecdotal data also point to rape victims’ lack of privacy during medical
examinations where several law enforcers being allowed as onlookers. These are
indicative of issues on values and competency, as well as the need for clearer
human rights-based investigation systems and procedures.

2.1.29 The integrated transformation program initiated by the current PNP leadership and
the transformation program manager includes a seamlessly integrated set of
institutional, procedural, human resources and technological reforms to address
issues identified.

2.1.30 It is clear from the performance of the criminal justice system that there are problems
in providing appropriate justice remedies. These problems have been analyzed as to
their root causes by various diagnostic studies which are being integrated in this
study and synthesized in the following sections.

3 WHAT THE STRENGTHS ARE


(1) NORMATIVE PROTECTION AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS FOR
CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN PLACE, INCLUDING MECHANISMS FOR
CONTINUING REVIEW AND REFORM

3.1.1 The legal and tradition based frameworks for criminality and justice remedies are in
place as provided for in the Constitution and translated in our laws. Laws formalizing
the traditional laws particularly of Muslim Filipinos and indigenous peoples are also in
place. There is awareness and initiative among political leaders of the need to
continuously review and update our criminal laws demonstrated among others by the
passage of the anti-money laundering act, the passage of laws within the last 10
years protecting the rights of women and children, indigenous peoples, urban poor,
persons with disabilities and other vulnerable sectors. The institutional framework for
the criminal justice system is also in place and ripened by long history and
continuously evolving and expanding (see section 2.4 Institutional Framework,
Chapter 2).

3.1.2 Two key executive orders, EO 366 and EO 444, and the provision in the annual
general appropriations act of the authority to reorganize government agencies put in
place mechanisms for wider and more comprehensive approaches to reforming
public sector institutions. EO 366 calls for the rationalization of the mandates,
functions, structures, staffing and budgets of national government agencies. EO 366
requires departments and agencies to anchor their rationalization program on a set
of governance principles espoused by the DBM which will guide in defining their
proper roles and the corresponding shift in the focus of their mandates and functions.
EO 444 calls for the conduct of a strategic review by DILG of departments and
government owned and controlled corporations for purposes of identifying functions,
programs, projects and activities that are to be devolved to local government units.

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(2) LAWS AND SYSTEMS SENSITIVITY TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND


VULNERABLE SECTORS

3.1.3 Our criminal justice system has legal mechanisms for the protection of women,
youth, indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable groups. At least 15 laws have been
passed during the last decade on the protection of their rights. PNP and NBI have
established mechanisms at the police station or point of access for dealing with
women and youth. The PNP operates women and youth desks in police stations
manned by accordingly trained policemen/policewomen. The DSWD and civil society
organizations maintain several halfway houses and social service centers that
address the needs of women and youth in conflict with the law or victims of crimes.

3.1.4 In actual practice however, much remains to be done to establish a culture of human
rights and gender as well as youth sensitivity both in the operational processes and
practices and organizational cultures of criminal justice institutions.

(3) RECOGNITION AND CORRESPONDING EFFORT TO IMPROVE THE


COORDINATION OF ACTIVITIES ACROSS PILLARS PARTICULARLY IN
THE MANAGEMENT OF CRIMINAL CASES

3.1.5 The creation of the inter-agency task force on pillars of justice is a concrete
mechanism that provides a venue to improve inter-pillar coordination both at policy
and operational levels. There is also a need to formalize inter-pillar coordination
particularly at the process level, meaning in the management of individual criminal
cases. This emanates from a corresponding recognition of the impact of weak inter-
pillar coordination on the speed and quality of the prosecution and litigation process,
on conviction and on the rendering by the court of the appropriate remedies.

(4) STRONG AND VIGILANT COMMUNITIES AND CIVIL SOCIETY


ORGANIZATIONS WITH INCREASING PARTICIPATION IN DISPUTE
RESOLUTION, IN ANTI-CRIME WATCH, ANTI-CORRUPTION, LEGAL
DEFENSE, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY AND RESTORATIVE JUSTICE,
AND WITH IMPROVING CAPACITY TO DEMAND JUSTICE REMEDIES

3.1.6 There are growing initiatives in civil society to organize the community into a powerful
and constructive force, both in demanding appropriate justice remedies and in
contributing to providing justice remedies.

3.1.7 The Commission on Human Rights leads the way to promote a rights–based system
of criminal justice. These are undertaken through several interventions such as jail
visits and evaluation, independent fact-finding and investigation, human rights
advocacy and promoting citizen’s human rights capacities by implementing human
rights teaching exemplars in coordination with DepEd.

3.1.8 The Office of the Ombudsman is also initiating its own teaching exemplars and
community awareness programs on corruption.

3.1.9 Community groups provide a variety of services including community based legal
services (through the Barangay Justice System, FLAG or Free Legal Assistance
Group, Catholic Lawyers Guild, and St. Tomas Moor and Associates, among others);

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and community policing (through the Federation of PNP-accredited NGOs or FAN


under their community policing programs along specialized areas of interest such as
drugs, pornography, violence against women, etc). The role of an organized
community is primarily that of providing assistance to demand justice remedies,
restorative justice, community information and education, and community dispute
resolution.

(5) VIBRANT MEDIA CONTRIBUTING TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE


CAPACITY OF COMMUNITIES TO DEMAND JUSTICE REMEDIES, AND TO
THE STRENGTHENING OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY OF CRIMINAL
JUSTICE INSTITUTIONS

3.1.10 The impact of the media in strengthening community capacities to demand justice
remedies are yet to be assessed. But media has played a strong role in popularizing
the criminal justice system to the masses through its various programs.

(6) EMERGING CULTURE OF REFORM, OPENNESS TO NEW FORMS OF


DELIVERING JUSTICE, AND ORGANIZED REFORM PLANS AND PMOS
THAT WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR MORE MEANINGFUL REFORMS IN THE
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

3.1.11 The sheer number of the diagnostic and reform program studies in the pillars of
justice and the growing interest and commitment of the leaders of the three branches
of the government indicate a bright future for the criminal justice system. Formally
approved plans implemented by fully operational and emerging PMOs (Judiciary,
PNP, OMB, CHR) with the corresponding staff competencies and strong, vision-
driven leaderships will pave the way for a more sustainable and long-term as well as
integrated reforms in the criminal justice system.

(7) AWARENESS BY NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE NEED FOR


INFUSION OF MORE RESOURCES AND IMPROVEMENT IN
INSTITUTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS TOWARDS STRENGTHENING
INDEPENDENCE AND INTEGRITY

3.1.12 The issue of severe resource constraints is common to the law enforcement,
prosecution, public defender and judiciary pillars, which the Department of Budget
and Management has recognized to be a genuine concern. The national government
has made tremendous strides in providing resources to increase judicial salaries and
police compensation, and to finance pilot implementation of certain judicial reform
projects. But much remains to be done to enable the pillars to operate within
minimum resource requirements.

3.1.13 There is also growing awareness of the need to provide mechanisms for
strengthening the independence of criminal justice institutions particularly in the
provision and management of budget, manpower, and physical resources.

3.1.14 The advocacy on these was started by the Judiciary with the proposed
operationalization of judicial autonomy. Conferences with leaders in Congress and
Executive Branches generated enunciated support, but much remains to be done to
actualize autonomy mechanisms in operational policies and processes.

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4 WHAT NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED UPON


(1) WEAK PUBLIC TRUST AND CONFIDENCE AMIDST PERCEPTION OF
CORRUPT, POLITICIZED AND WEAK CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
INSTITUTIONS

4.1.1 Opinion surveys have indicated consistent perception of a worsening corruption


situation in the public sector, particularly in law enforcement, prosecution and
judiciary pillars. While comprehensive reforms are being initiated in the PNP and the
Judiciary, and more are being planned in the other pillars, they will face profound
challenges in engendering public support to the reform process at a time when public
trust and confidence in the system is at a low.

(2) LACK OF MEANINGFUL INDEPENDENCE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM


INSTITUTIONS, AS INDICATED IN THEIR INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS
AND AS REFLECTED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL
PROCESSES OF GOVERNMENT WHICH EFFECTIVELY
INSTITUTIONALIZED VULNERABILITY TO POLITICAL PRESSURE AND
CORRUPTION

4.1.2 While the notion of independence has normally applied to the Judiciary, there is also
a need for independence in law enforcement, prosecution and correction agencies,
such that they will maintain their impartiality in police investigation and prosecution
and will not be influenced or harassed particularly where a criminal case involves a
high-ranking politician, national government executive or influential economic elite.

Independence issues in law enforcement and prosecution

4.1.3 Law enforcement agencies must have independence in order that they can
objectively investigate and apprehend offenders regardless of their socio-economic
or political status. Mechanisms within the PNP and NBI that will ensure the integrity
of physical or scientific examination of crime evidence should be put in place by
establishing a system whereby independent laboratories undertake the
examinations, particularly in cases where a police officer is an accused party.
Similarly, prosecutors must likewise be insulated from political pressure where the
suspect of the case involves someone politically powerful. The independence issue
in law enforcement and prosecution is both institutional and individual. Where the
PNP releases findings of a scientific investigation, the integrity of such findings
becomes an issue of institutional credibility. Where a police report is made, the
integrity of such report is an issue of individual credibility.

4.1.4 But the current institutional frameworks of the law enforcement and prosecution
pillars render them extremely vulnerable to political pressure and harassment. In
particular these vulnerabilities are found in the following institutional mechanisms:

a) Local government units are mandated by the local government code to provide
funding support to the police and prosecutors in their respective jurisdictions. In
practice many local governments adopt discretionary and highly negotiable
processes for the infusion of resources to the pillars. Most local governments
provide monthly allowances and travel allowances to policemen, prosecutors

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and their staff based on amounts determined at the discretion of the executive
head. Supports for office facilities, cars and equipments, and in some cases
personnel, are also done on a discretionary basis. This renders the individual
policeman and prosecutor personally beholden to the mayor on whom the
decision to increase and release allowances and perks depend.
b) The National Prosecution Service (NPS) is an organic unit of the Department of
Justice and reports administratively to the Secretary of Justice. The lack of
institutional independence of the NPS renders it highly vulnerable to political
pressure in cases where high-ranking government officials are the accused
parties. The institutional independence of the NPS is an essential part in
ensuring an impartial preliminary investigation and prosecution.
c) Similarly, the police are extremely vulnerable to politicization, which lies in the
appointment, promotion and disciplinary systems of the police force. LGUs
have a hand in deciding on police recruitment and promotion, along with the
President who also exercises these powers, as well as with members of
Congress, who send recommendations to the police regional directors or PNP
Chief. Police discipline is also exercised by LGUs, NAPOLCOM and the
President. This system severely undermines unity of command and authority of
the PNP Chief and the integrity of the human resources management system
erodes accountability.
d) Low remuneration furthermore renders policemen and prosecutors vulnerable
to corruption. According to PNP officials, about 80% of policemen in Metro
Manila live in poverty and in slum dwellings. On same vein, the salary of senior
prosecutors is lower than the entrance basic pay of a medium-sized law firm in
Makati.

Judicial independence

4.1.5 The independence of the Judiciary is enshrined in the Constitution but its
operationalization is undermined by mechanisms that render it vulnerable to undue
political influence. For example, the annual budget of the Judiciary is subject to detail
scrutiny and determination by the other branches of government and its release is
negotiable due to the transactional approval release process. The Executive Branch
reviews and approves the creation or modification of the Judiciary’s administrative
structure and staffing and the realignment of its budget. LGUs also provide funding
support to the courts on a highly discretionary basis. Some LGUs provide monthly
and travel allowances and equipment upon personal request of the judge and
personal approval of the LGU head. Judicial appointments are vulnerable to undue
political influence if the procedures for such accommodate political
recommendations. Low judicial remuneration also renders judges and court
personnel vulnerable to bribery, while centralized control of administrative and
financial decision making, accompanied by highly discretionary management
decision making, threatens decisional independence from within the Judiciary itself.
The Judiciary is initiating several reform measures to insulate the courts from undue
politicization, but many of these reforms require corresponding reforms in the
operational policies, processes and practices in LGUs and in the Executive Branch.
A proposed legislation must be passed by Congress to effect and sustain judicial
independence.

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(3) INEFFICIENCY OF THE JURISDICTIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE COURTS


WHICH HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME AS TO ITS IMPACTS ON ACCESS TO
JUSTICE

4.1.6 The jurisdictional structure of the courts is defined both in geographical and
functional terms 12, and therefore the manner in which the jurisdictions of the courts
is structured will have profound implications on geographical access on one hand,
and on case management efficiency as well as judge capacity on the other.

4.1.7 The jurisdictional structure of the courts has evolved over time as the courts respond
to specific needs. Family courts, drug courts and heinous crimes courts were
established by designating or converting lower courts into such special purpose
courts. Proposals to create small claim courts to facilitate processing of small claims
cases, as well as the reassignment of small and less complex cases from
Sandiganbayan to the RTCs or first level courts and the establishment of court-
annexed mediation system should be considered within the broader and more
comprehensive review of the jurisdictional structure of the courts.

(4) COMPLEX RULES OF COURT AND LAWS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO


CONGESTING POLICE AND PROSECUTORS’ LOGBOOKS AND COURTS’
DOCKETS

4.1.8 Feliciano and Muyot argue that the complexity of the court procedures further delay
litigation. According to these authors, there are aspects of procedures which the
Supreme Court must address like the problem of language in court proceedings,
including the need to seriously look into the translation of legal documents,
prioritization of cases where communities are represented (e.g., prioritization of
cases in the Rules of Court in favor of the indigents), and removal of reinterpretation
of court processes that effectively remove judicial redress to marginalized sectors or
communities.

4.1.9 Their study pointed to the Constitutional requirement where a judge must repeat all
the facts of a case in a decision as contributing to delay. According to them, since
judicial writing causes delay, distinction is needed between cases that deserve
lengthy decisions and those that do not. If a judge is not required to repeat all the
facts relevant to the decision, it will greatly shorten the time necessary to pen
decisions. The same authors pointed to the need for strict compliance to pre-trial
procedures so that the parties may agree on certain things and not make it subject to
objections when trial has already commenced.

4.1.10 Feliciano and Muyot also see the need to adopt continuous trial instead of the
practice of piecemeal or segmented trials. Continuous trial is currently underutilized
or even flagrantly ignored by judges. The Continuous Trial System requires that the
presiding judge: (a) adheres faithfully to the session hours prescribed by law; (b)
maintains full control of the proceedings; and (c) efficiently allocates and uses time
and court resources to avoid delay. This is a mode of judicial fact finding and
adjudication with speed and dispatch so that trials are held on the scheduled dates

12
Geographical jurisdiction defines the authority of the court over the case based on the location of the subject or issue in dispute.
Functional jurisdiction defines the authority of the court to take cognizance of the case based on such factors as disputing parties, subject
of dispute, geographical locations of the subject parties, and punishment or penalty involved.

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without needless postponement. To address the issue, Feliciano and Muyot propose
the adoption of the following:

a) Decriminalization and de-penalization of certain offenses where there is no


specific party involved. For example, the abolition of the crimes of prostitution,
vagrancy, unjust vexation, premature marriages, failure to render assistance of
or assume public office, simple disobedience to an agent or a person of
authority, causing alarms and scandals, and traffic violations may be a subject
of a possible legislative measure. A deeper study on the matter is thus called
for to determine the viability of the proposal.
b) Amendment of the Bouncing Checks Law (BP Blg. 22). This must likewise be
studied so that: (a) the case can only brought to the regular courts if the
dishonored check is of specified amount or amount involved is huge, and (b)
checks issued as guarantee for an obligation is excluded from its coverage.
c) Adjustments in the threshold amounts in crimes against property under the
Revised Penal Code (such as theft and estafa) to make them more attuned to
the times. These amounts, on which the corresponding penalty is based, were
determined some 70 years ago. If the Code is amended, many crimes against
property will be resolved at the level of the metropolitan and municipal courts,
instead of the regional trial courts.

(5) DISJOINTED AND UNCOORDINATED CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM


ACROSS THE PILLARS

4.1.11 Diagnostic studies cite poor coordination between the courts and court-related
agencies, particularly those involved in law enforcement, as one of the primary
causes of judicial delay. Policemen, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation,
and medico-legal officers fail to appear on the dates they were scheduled to take the
witness stand. This situation unduly burdens and compromises the case of the
prosecution, who may end up failing to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt in a
given case. There are instances where warrants or subpoenas were not served by
the police or by process servers, and indispensable laboratory reports not submitted
by government forensic chemists.

4.1.12 Officials of court-related agencies moreover engage themselves in turf-wars,


grandstanding and jurisdiction disputes, adversely affecting the purpose of
investigation especially when agencies submit conflicting reports and
recommendations.

4.1.13 While there are efforts to coordinate case management across pillars, a formal
mechanism must be put in place that will harmonize and synchronize skills,
processes and rules with inter-pillar workflows, and improve inter-personal
relationships among policemen, prosecutors and public attorneys. Relatedly, there
may be a need for a law to be passed to better define and refine the duties and
limitations of court-related agencies to avoid overlapping of functions and
responsibilities, as well as to properly enforce coordinative requirements among
them.

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(6) WEAKNESSES IN CRIME INVESTIGATION AND CASE MANAGEMENT


CAPACITIES OF THE POLICE FORCE CONTRIBUTING TO THE LOW
CONVICTION RATES AND THE HIGH ARCHIVAL RATES IN THE LOWER
COURTS

4.1.14 In September 2002, the PNP released its Handbook of Operational Procedures, a
manual of twenty six (26) operational procedures to guide every police officer in the
performance of his or her functions. The Handbook is a review, update and
compilation of the PNP operational rules; it substitutes the June 1997 Revised Rules
of Engagement and details the procedural guidelines to cover general and special
operational procedures. The Handbook provides the Rules that every police officer
must follow, and which each one must know by heart.13 But the handbook is written
in highly formal and technical jargon and must be made more user-friendly

4.1.15 Rules 11 and 12 of the Handbook are mere repetitions – often verbatim
reproductions – of Rules of Court provisions, specifically Rules 113 and 126 of the
2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Their translation into specific procedural
steps on arrest, search and seizures is therefore lacking. Further, the manual does
not provide for the giving of ‘Miranda Warnings’ to persons arrested pursuant to a
warrant of arrest. The law expressly provides for the giving of the Miranda warnings
to persons arrested, without distinction as to whether the arrest was done in
compliance with a warrant, or was a warrantless arrest. Thus the operational rules on
Miranda warnings must apply to both types of arrests.

4.1.16 While crime scene investigation is a regular and daily operation, it has been
categorized as a specialized police operation because it requires specialized skills
and capacities. The operations manual does not describe the detail and specific
procedural steps and rules in crime scene investigation. Rule 13 broadly describes
the documentation to be done – mainly photographs and sketches – it fails to detail
how documentation is actually done, i.e. types of sketches, range of photographs,
and the like. Further, although it refers to the conduct of a crime scene search, it
gives no hint whatsoever of what to look for, what may be important pieces of
evidence, and how to go about conducting a methodical search. Operations of the
Crime Laboratory SOCO team, as described in the Crime Laboratory Manual, are far
more comprehensive and precise than Rule 13. While the SOCO manual elaborates
on the functions to be performed by the various technicians, and indeed provides
technical descriptions of the modes of documentation and search, Rule 13 is
extremely limited and general, describing mainly the functions of the first responder
and the team leader of the investigating team.

4.1.17 The manual on crime scene investigation should be scientific and technical, and
leave less to the discretion of the individual technician. It should specify how he is to
document the crime scene, and defines the steps by which the search is to be
conducted.

4.1.18 Another critical factor is the quality of the crime laboratory of the PNP and NBI.
While crime investigation technology has advanced far in the fields of scientific
investigation, low budgets considerably hamper the acquisition of state-of-the-art

13
“PNP Handbook of Operational Procedures”, Foreword by then DIDM Police Director Lucas Managuelod, pp. v-vi.

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crime laboratory technologies and training. Japan has been providing equipment and
training to PNP field offices on finger print analysis. But in many cases investigation
technology are not available to the many police stations in the field. The government
must consider expanding alternative means of accessing modern crime investigation
technologies through a combination of direct public investments, outsourcing and
partnerships.

(7) SEVERE RESOURCE DEFICIENCIES AGGRAVATED BY INEFFICIENCIES


IN THE INTERNAL MANAGEMENT OF EXPENDITURES THAT CONTINUE
TO SERIOUSLY UNDERMINE THE CAPACITIES OF THE LAW
ENFORCEMENT, PROSECUTION, AND SOCIAL DEFENSE AGENCIES AS
WELL AS THE COURTS TO DELIVER THEIR CORE FUNCTIONS

4.1.19 Severe resource deficiencies characterize justice sector agencies. In 2005 the
national government investment per capita to the criminal justice system was about
PhP612.77 pesos. This pales considerably when compared to the AUS$1 million per
capita that the Australian government spends on the police system alone.

Table 3.12
THE COST OF MAINTAINING A CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
National Government Obligations, 2005

AGENCY AMOUNT
NO
(in million PhP)
1 Bureau of Jails Management and Penology, DILG 2,247,832

2 National Police Commission, DILG 659,671


3 Philippine National Police, DILG 35,264,857
4 Philippine Public Safety College 504,442
5 Office of the Secretary, Department of Justice 1,507,189
6 Bureau of Corrections, DOJ 850,869
7 National Bureau of Investigation, DOJ 630,297
8 Parole and Probation Administration, DOJ 349,843
9 Public Attorney’s Office, DOJ 565, 899
10 Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), OEO 141,602
11 The Judiciary 8,005,206
12 Commission on Human Rights 210,675
13 Office of the Ombudsman 535,011
TOTAL 51,473,393
% OF TOTAL NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OBLIGATION 5.45
PROGRAM
PER CAPITA 612.77
SOURCE: BESF, 2005

4.1.20 This situation is particularly reinforced by larger amounts of MOOE budgets allocated
to central offices, but much smaller amounts are distributed to the wider regional and
local units. In the Judiciary, more than 70% of MOOE is allocated to the central
offices, while the remaining less than 30% are allocated to the more than 2000
courts. In PNP, about 80% of the MOOE budget goes to central offices and units,

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while the rest is distributed to the various regional and provincial offices and the
police stations in each city and municipality. Thus, police stations and court houses
as well as offices of prosecutors and public attorneys are severely ill equipped. Many
police stations do not have adequate transport equipment, firearms and supplies and
do not have budgets for gasoline. Lower court employees bring their own supplies
and equipment and spend on their own for minor office repairs and transport. The
seriousness of these deficiencies cannot be overemphasized. If basic resources are
not provided, the pillars cannot be expected to perform functions as they should.

(8) UNREALISTICALLY LOW AND UNCOMPETITIVE REMUNERATION THAT


RENDERS MISSION-CRITICAL POSITIONS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM UNATTRACTIVE, THEREBY LIMITING THE ABILITY OF
AGENCIES TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN THE QUALIFIED AND COMPETENT
AND RENDERING INCUMBENTS VULNERABLE TO CORRUPTION

4.1.21 Studies conducted on the remuneration systems across pillars point to the difficulty in
attracting and maintaining quality manpower due to lack of competitiveness of
salaries and other compensation benefits. Despite legislated increases in the salaries
of judges and policemen and upgrading of levels of legal positions including
prosecutors in the government, their salaries have remained unattractive,
uncompetitive and do not commensurate to the status that the position holds. About
80% of the police force lives below the poverty threshold. The salaries of judges and
prosecutors are less than half the basic salaries of lawyers of medium-sized law
firms. Further, policemen do not have their own pension plan, and so they are not
provided with social benefits that GSIS members enjoy. Retirement benefits, which
are a part of the police regular budget approved annually, are even delayed by as
much as more than one year. Families of policemen who die on duty receive only
immediate burial assistance but not sustained benefits. The personnel remuneration
system in the criminal justice system must be reformed to maintain quality and
professional workforce who are not vulnerable to corruption and who enjoy prestige
in the community.

(9) DEFICIENCIES IN RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES IN THE POLICE AND


LOWER COURTS DO NOT WEED AWAY THE CORRUPT AND OTHER
MISFITS FROM JOINING THE POLICE FORCE AND THE BENCH,
RESPECTIVELY

4.1.22 The weaknesses in recruitment policies and procedures in the police can be
attributed both to internal and external factors. The interference of external agencies
and authorities over recruitment and appointment, promotion and deployment, and
police discipline undermine unity of command and the authority of the Chief, PNP.
There are also several internal weaknesses in the police human resources
management system such as the inability of the testing process to weed out the
morally unfit from entering the police force, the lack of career development
opportunities, and the absence of a coherent and integrated personnel development
policy for the police force.

4.1.23 The recruitment procedures to fill vacancy in the lower courts must likewise be
studied to address weaknesses. Concrete parameters and basis for determining the
fitness of applicants to the bench must be set.

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(10) POOR QUALITY AND IRRELEVANCE OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING


ACROSS THE KEY PILLARS, PARTICULARLY IN THE POLICE,
PROSECUTION AND LOWER COURTS

4.1.24 Weak competency development systems undermine the capacities and performance
of the criminal justice system workforce. Law enforcers, investigators and
prosecutors need to improve their individual capacities to prevent, control and solve
crimes. Policemen in particular need to improve skills in investigation, in proper
arrest and search procedures that are in accordance with law and human rights, in
investigation and evidence gathering, in case preparation and writing, and in
witnessing in court. Prosecutors, public attorneys and judges need improved training
in case management and in special crime areas such as money laundering and other
heinous crimes, as well as in their regular functions such as case preparation and
prosecution in the case of prosecutors, and decision-writing and case management
with regard to judges.

4.1.25 The establishment of a corps of professionals in investigation, control and solution of


global and complex crimes (corporate crimes, terrorism and transnational crimes)
through recruitment and training, particularly in the NBI, is necessary to enable our
criminal justice system to cope with the increasing number of this type of crimes.

(11) LACK OF INTEGRATED PUBLIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY


FOR PERFORMANCE OF PROVINCIAL, CITY AND MUNICIPAL JAILS, AND
A NEED TO CONSIDER DEVOLUTION WITH STRONG OVERSIGHT
STANDARDS, MONITORING, AUDIT AND SANCTION FUNCTIONS AS A
WAY TO ADDRESS DETERIORATING JAIL CONDITIONS

4.1.26 The presence and uniform application of laws and similar treatment of prisoners and
detainees will ensure/address equality, equity, and non-discrimination. Highly
decentralized operations on corrections and rehabilitation with direct delivery of
services lodged primarily with local government units will enable policies and
programs better reflect the interest of clients in the local areas and encourage wider
participation in the development of programs and projects for effective delivery of
correction and rehabilitation services.

4.1.27 An oversight mechanism to formulate national policies and standards on correction


and rehabilitation and monitor implementation of programs and performance of
agencies involved in the pillar is necessary. The arrangement will also require the
identification of proper organizational placement and roles of agencies and
institutions concerned; definition of the interventions to be done at the oversight level,
and those at the operating or local level; delineation of functions based on
appropriate horizontal and vertical compartmentalization criteria; and development of
clear and effective inter-agency coordinative mechanisms and operating processes.
The oversight mechanism will have the capacity to formulate overall policy
framework on correction and rehabilitation activities; strictly enforce national and
international standards on prison and jail management and treatment of inmates; and
ensure performance of state obligations, particularly on access to justice

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(12) INADEQUATE STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY IN THE


USE OF RESOURCES FOR SOCIAL DEFENSE TO REACH A GREATER
PORTION OF THE POOR IN NEED OF JUSTICE REMEDIES

4.1.28 The provision of legal assistance to pauper litigants is provided primarily by the
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in the Department of Justice. There are several other
agencies providing legal assistance. This fragmentation and uncoordinated provision
of legal assistance to the poor in the government indicates expenditure inefficiency
due to duplication of vertical structures and overhead expenditures that are needed
to manage the service delivery.

4.1.29 Access to justice by the poor is hindered among others by lack of lawyers. The
current social defense system of the government is weak, fragmented across various
departments and lacks resources. There is opportunity to integrate the social
defense system and strengthen the Public Attorney’s Office. Government needs to
mobilize and synchronize public and private sector legal resources for the poor.

(13) DUPLICATION, PROLIFERATION AND FRAGMENTATION OF FUNCTIONS


PARTICULARLY AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE
AGENCIES THAT WORSEN RESOURCE LIMITATION

4.1.30 The Constitution provides for one national police force. But in actuality, there are 34
policing agencies including the PNP and NBI that perform overlapping functions and
jurisdictions. The government’s efforts to curb criminality resulted in the creation of
specialized crime agencies, but which still utilizes the PNP’s police force in actual
operation.

4.1.31 The Public Affairs Office of the DOJ is primarily mandated under the law to provide
legal assistance to pauper litigants. There are other government agencies that
provide similar services, including the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance in the
Department of Agrarian Reform, Commission on Human Rights, and the Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration, to name a few.

4.1.32 The integration of legal assistance units of government agencies into one
organization, or the privatization of such services may be looked into to optimize
resources and/or channel such resources to much needed concerns.

(14) LIMITED GEOGRAPHICAL ACCESS TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM


AGENCIES

4.1.33 In the area of public sector corruption, access to OMB services is limited by lack of
technology, insufficient number of prosecutors and investigators, poor investigation
facilities, and limitation in the geographical presence of OMB offices at the regional
level. Regional access is said to limit access by complainants and whistle blowers
where LGU corruption is concerned. Meanwhile limited investigation and prosecution
manpower and technologies hamper evidence gathering and case preparation and
therefore contribute to delay and high dismissal rates in corruption cases.

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4.1.34 Geographical access is likewise an issue with regard to the Shari’a Justice System.
Lack or limited geographical accessibility is evident in areas outside of the Mindanao
regions where there are Muslim communities but no Shari’a courts. There is a need
for clear directions where to file cases in such areas, especially where the Judiciary
cannot immediately provide direct judicial services to them.

(15) ABSENCE OF INTEGRATED CRIMINAL JUSTICE INDICATORS AND


INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY THAT
HAMPERS BOTH COORDINATION ACROSS PILLARS AND EFFICIENT
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT WITHIN EACH PILLAR

4.1.35 Lack of information technology particularly in managing caseload is deficient in all


justice sector agencies. Courts do not have an integrated case management
information system and this hinders the capacity of judges to efficiently manage
caseload and prevent delay. This likewise affects the supervision by the Supreme
Court over the lower courts and in its monitoring of judges’ performance. Police
stations do not similarly have automated case management information systems and
this hinders crime mapping, crime monitoring and crime management both at police
station and national levels. In the case of NPS and PAO, computer-aided case
management systems will be needed to facilitate the tracking and prioritization of
cases as well as support sound time management of prosecutors and public
attorneys, while allowing enterprise-wide performance monitoring and evaluation that
inputs to strategic planning and institutional development.

(16) PERCEPTION OF LACK OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY AND CAPACITY TO


DEMAND APPROPRIATE JUSTICE REMEDIES AS REFLECTED IN
PERSISTENT CORRUPTION AND POLITICIZATION OF THE CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEM

4.1.36 The perception of corruption in the criminal justice system persists. Vulnerabilities to
corruption are deeply embedded in dysfunctions in structures and functions, in law
and policy-making processes, public service delivery and regulatory systems, and
procurement and financial management systems, among others. They are found in
unclear rules of the game; in the convoluted procedures that migrate through layers
of unnecessary and overlapping authority structures that undermine transparency
and accountability; and in the lack if not absence of accessible and quick reaction
grievance, complaint and sanction mechanisms that will ensure the rectification of
wrongdoings and punishment of participants to the corrupt act.

4.1.37 Mechanisms for community empowerment is still weak as evidenced by inadequate


public knowledge and understanding of the rules and the processes by which the law
is enforced or the service is provided. It is likewise evidenced by the high tolerance
for corruption both by the general public as a whole and the victims in particular.

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4
PROPOSED ROADMAP FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM REFORMS

1 OBJECTIVES
1.1.1 This roadmap identifies the set of seamlessly integrated strategic reform
recommendations identified in previous studies that will hopefully achieve a well-
functioning integrated criminal justice system capable of achieving its overall goals
and the individual objectives of each pillar.

2 COMPOSITION OF REFORMS
2.1.1 Reforms in previous studies were identified in accordance with their contribution to
the following stated goals:

• access to justice and respect for human rights


• case decongestion and delay reduction
• provision of appropriate justice remedies
• improvement of capacity to provide justice remedies
• improvement of capacity to demand justice remedies

2.1.2 Accordingly reforms were identified in the following areas:

a) NORMATIVE PROTECTION, which includes reforms in the legal framework


and the rules and procedures in criminal justice
b) OPERATING PROCESSES AND TECHNOLOGIES, which include reforms in
the processes and work technologies supporting mission-critical functions of
the pillars
c) INSTITUTIONS DEVELOPMENT AND GOVERNANCE, which include reforms
in the assignment of governmental functions across levels of governance and
in the structure and functions and internal administrative management of the
pillars
d) HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT, which includes reforms in the
planning and management of human resources across the pillars
e) FINANCIAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, which includes reforms towards
improving the expenditures and the efficiency of their management by the
government and the pillars

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3 RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation No. 1
DECRIMINALIZE CERTAIN OFFENSES UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND
SPECIAL LAWS AND CODIFICATION OF CRIMINAL LAW

A deeper study to decriminalize and de-penalize certain offenses where there is no specific
offended party is necessary to improve the adjudication process. Legislation is also needed,
for instance, to abolish the crimes of prostitution, vagrancy, unjust vexation, premature
marriages, failure to render assistance of or assume public office, simple disobedience to an
agent or a person of authority, causing alarms and scandals, and traffic violations.

The amendment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (Bouncing Checks Law) must likewise be
studied, and so is the adjustment in the threshold amounts with regard to crimes against
property under the Revised Penal Code. If the Code is amended, many crimes against
property would no longer be brought before the regional trial courts as they would already be
resolved at the level of metropolitan and municipal trial courts.

The codification of criminal law is also proposed.

Recommendation No. 2
ADOPT MECHANISMS FOR ENFORCING STRICT COMPLIANCE TO MANDATORY
CONTINUOUS TRIAL AND PRE-TRIAL

This will require that a case management support tool be provided to judges in lower courts
in order to manage their caseloads and the programming of trial hearings on the basis of
continuous trials. A pre-trial conference which is efficiently and effectively administered by
the judge should yield to a shorter trial period, if not altogether avert the need for trial through
alternative modes of settlement that may be reached by the parties during the pre-trial period.

The pre-trial conference provides for extensive use of discovery modes, which will
eventually be helpful in the trial stage. In criminal cases, the pre-trial conference is used to
consider plea bargaining, stipulation of facts, marking for identification of evidence of the
parties, waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence, and such matters that will promote
fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.

It is recommended that the Supreme Court adopt mechanisms for the monitoring of the
implementation of pre-trial and the imposition of sanctions for non-compliance. It is also
recommended that extensive practical training on procedures and case management tools
within the context of continuous trials and the use of pre-trial be conducted by the Philippine
Judicial Academy (PHILJA) together with an accompanying video presentation that should
be produced as a teaching tool.

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Recommendation No. 3
REVIEW AND IMPROVE THE RULES OF COURT

The review and amendment of the Rules of Court is necessary to further speed up, simplify
and render more inexpensive the disposition of cases. The review should consider the
following improvements:

a) Limiting the period within which Judges of Municipal Trial Courts have to terminate the
preliminary investigation of criminal cases;
b) Returning to decisions by the Supreme Court en banc in order to avoid conflicting
decisions on same issue;
c) Setting of fixed amounts of time for the presentation of evidence and cross
examinations; using of affidavits in lieu of direct testimony of witnesses; prohibiting
postponements; and submitting draft orders and resolutions;
d) Deputizing barangay officials to act as process servers because the cause of delay in
preliminary investigation is the lack of adequate process servers;
e) Implementing electronic payment of legal fees, electronic case filing, and electronic
delivery of summons, orders and notices;
f) Adopting teleconferencing as substitute to personal appearances of accused and
witnesses;
g) Authorizing law enforcement agents to file cases directly with the Metropolitan Trial
Courts and/or Municipal Trial Courts in chartered cities, so that warrant of arrest may
be issued immediately for the detention of prime suspects of heinous crimes;
h) Reducing the grounds for motion to quash (presently, there are eight grounds for
motion to quash – Section 3, Rule 117, Rules of Criminal Procedure);
i) Amending Section 5(b), Rule 113, on warrantless arrest, which requires personal
knowledge of facts on the part of the peace officers or private persons that the person
to be arrested has committed the offense, inasmuch as it is very seldom that the peace
officer is present during the commission of the crime which is the only instance when
he could be considered to have personal knowledge thereof;
j) Finding probable cause by the prosecutors to be binding on the courts for purposes of
proceeding with trial;
k) Carving out more exemptions from the filing of bonds;
l) Relaxing the Constitutional requirements for a judge to repeat all facts of a case in a
decision, to shorten the time necessary to pen decisions;
m) Shortening the filing period for several pleadings and abbreviating court processes by
reducing direct testimonies;
n) Looking into the problems of language in court proceedings by studying the use of
local dialects instead of English;
o) Reviewing the time standards provided in the rules of court and speedy trial act,
identifying appropriate criteria to be used in the determination of time standards for
specific types of cases, and establishing time standards for case types; and
p) Reviewing procedures for the litigation process for specific types of cases.

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Recommendation No. 4
REVIEW THE JURISDICTIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE COURTS

Prior studies provide recommendations on improving court jurisdictional structures in specific


areas based on assessments of specific issues in these areas. An assessment of the effects
of the current court jurisdictional structure on geographical access, case congestion and
delay, judge capacity, and overall coherence of the court system has moreover been
recommended. These recommendations also include:

(1) Establishing small claims courts;


(2) Reassigning jurisdiction on less complex corruption cases from Sandiganbayan to the
lower courts;
(3) Reorganizing the distribution of case assignments in the Sandiganbayan by allowing
individual justices to handle specific cases and selectively assigning cases to divisions
and to the En Banc; and
(4) Focusing the TC Heinous Crime Courts on heinous crime cases; removing from their
jurisdictional coverage civil cases.

Recommendation No. 5
REMOVE DUPLICATION AND OVERLAP AND CLEARLY DEFINE
THE OPERATIONAL DELINEATION AMONG PRE-TRIAL SYSTEM, BARANGAY
JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE COURT-ANNEXED MEDIATION SYSTEM

Judges argue that cases that have passed through the Barangay Justice System do not
require pre-trial. Relatedly, a mandatory court-annexed mediation is being implemented in
the lower courts and in the Court of Appeals, although the experience of the pilot court-
annexed mediation units indicated that while case settlement rates are high, referral rates of
cases by judges are very low. Similarly, during pre-trial, an attempt to arrive at an amicable
settlement could be made. In view of this similarity of purpose and objective, there is a need
to study these discrete systems and clearly define their jurisdictions and operational
delineation so that they can meaningfully contribute to case decongestion and delay
reduction.

Within the context of established jurisdictional delineations and operational processes, the
strengthening of the Barangay Justice System and full implementation of the court-annexed
mediation system must be undertaken as necessary measures for case decongestion and
early dispute resolution. Mechanisms at the barangay level must be installed in order to
protect poor and vulnerable parties from the abuse of more politically and economically
powerful opponents to the case.

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Recommendation No. 6
MODERNIZE CASE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SYSTEM
IN THE LOWER COURTS

Systems functional specifications and user requirements definition have been developed
under a project on an enterprise-wide case management information system in the lower
courts which was funded by the World Bank PHRD Grant. The system will provide a unique
case identification mechanism; allow tracking of case location and status; and provide
mechanism for detecting forum shopping, delay and violation of statutory time limits, and
detained parties whose stay in jail have exceeded the maximum penalty prescribed by law
for their offenses. The system will likewise provide tools for judges to manage case
prioritization and scheduling, as well as manage courtrooms utilization. It will provide
functions for e-payment and e-issuance of court orders and notices. At the analytic level it
will allow court administrators and justices to track the performance of judges, locate specific
cases of interest, and provide information which is useful in monitoring and evaluating
institutional performance.

The adoption of transcription technology, teleconferencing, and electronic case-filing,


electronic issuance of summons, orders and notices has been planned. These application
systems will require substantial one-time public investments in installing the necessary
infrastructure, in designing the systems, and in implementing them. Funding for these is
available under a Judicial Reform Support Program Loan from the World Bank. The
implementation of the case management information system must however be undertaken
within the context of an integrated criminal justice information system.

A change management program is essential particularly since these will revolutionalize court
processes and the way the courts communicate and relate to court users. User training,
technology competency training, thematic training in specific work areas, and public
information and advocacy would be essential components of the change management
strategy.

Recommendation No. 7
DESIGN AND ADOPT AN INTEGRATED CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION SYSTEM

The design and installation of an integrated criminal justice information system that will link
crime and case information across the pillars is recommended. The integrated system will
have the following system components:

a) Crime management information system of PNP, NBI and other police agencies which
will store data on crime offenders, crimes, and other crime indicators. The system will
also support police operations by allowing information sharing to facilitate tracking of
suspects and cases, crime mapping, and crime analysis.
b) Prosecution system which will contain a case management information system that will
support the management of specific cases and overall caseload.
c) Court case management system which will provide information and management
support required in the management of caseload and case management by judges and
clerks of courts.

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d) Jail management information system which will provide information and management
tools in tracking prisoners, their conditions, status and activities and other relevant
information.
e) Criminal justice information sharing system which will allow exchange of information
across the pillars within the bounds of disclosure policies.

The development of crime classification and crime indicators will be necessary in


establishing the criminal justice information system.

Recommendation 8
ADOPT A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE IMPROVEMENT
OF THE CRIME INVESTIGATION SYSTEM OF THE POLICE

Improving the overall capacities of the police for crime investigation will require a holistic
approach that will involve the following:

a) Improving and integrating police manuals into one manual for police operations,
including among others specific improvements on investigation procedures, eyewitness
identification procedures, interrogation procedures, arrest, and rules on evidence.
b) Modernizing the crime laboratory, improving its capacity for scientific analysis of crime
case evidence.
c) Strengthening the independence of crime investigations and the analysis of evidence
and providing institutional mechanisms for insulating these. The outsourcing of
scientific analysis of evidence should be considered to improve efficiency and
strengthen independence of the process.
d) Establishing mechanisms to ensure that prosecutors get all the evidence.
e) Improving case documentation procedures and skills in police report preparation.
f) Strengthening the curricula and teaching technologies in PPSC on crime scene
investigation, interrogation and field investigation, case documentation and reporting,
and witnessing in courts. Mastery of the police manual should be a pre-condition for
completion of the training and education program.
g) Improving the remuneration of the police force as a way of strengthening their
insulation from undue politicization and corruption.
h) Improving the resources and facilities of court stations and their services to vulnerable
groups.
i) Developing peer to peer and office dialogue mechanisms for regular and collective
analyses of crime cases and for information and experience sharing
j) Focusing policemen on just doing police work and not deploying them as body guards
of important people
k) Piloting these and other institutional reforms at the police station level and creating pilot
model police stations

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Recommendation No. 9
ESTABLISH THE INDEPENDENCE OF CRIME INVESTIGATION
AND PROSECUTION AGENCIES TOGETHER WITH A MEANINGFUL
OPERATIONALIZATION OF JUDICIAL AUTONOMY

Consider establishing an independent National Prosecution Service, and PNP/NBI, together


with the operationalization of reforms in judicial independence. The parameters for the
independence of the prosecution and police must be defined while operating within the
reasonable bounds of existing administrative and financial management laws, rules and
regulations of the government. This will include addressing the following issues: removing
negotiable and highly discretionary support from LGUs; reintegrating authority to the PNP
Chief to recruit, appoint and promote and discipline the police force without prejudice to an
appropriate civilian review system; removing LGU authority over the internal administration of
the police force; and removing NPS as an organic structure of the DOJ and establishing it as
an independent agency.

The implementation of judicial independence reforms include the adoption of a one-line item
budget which should be automatically and fully released by removing transactional
requirements; putting in place mechanisms for the objective determination and automatic
remittance of LGU support to the courts; and assumption by the Judiciary of the authority to
determine the details of its budget, organization and staffing.

These will require legislation and long-term development of institutional capacities as well as
considerable political will. These will be one of the most difficult reforms to put in place.

Recommendation No. 10
UNDERTAKE DETAILED REVIEW AND REENGINEERING OF THE ENTIRE PUBLIC
DEFENSE SYSTEM TO IMPROVE ITS CAPACITY TO PROVIDE SERVICES, IMPROVE
ACCESS AND EFFICIENCY, AND STRENGTHEN ITS INDEPENDENCE

Within severely limited budgetary resources, the government must improve the efficiency of
expenditures for public defense by adopting among others good governance framework and
practices. A detailed review and reengineering of the social defense system is needed
considering the following:

a) Integrating all legal services of the national government into the Public Attorney’s
Office (PAO);
b) Refocusing the role of PAO from directly providing legal services to mobilizing and
managing the country’s resources for public defense;
c) Establishing PAO as an independent agency with some corporate powers, allowing it
to mobilize private sector resources;
d) Assigning public defense functions to LGUs (starting with high income LGUs) with
PAO performing oversight roles and functions (e.g., providing and enforcing service
standards and providing technical assistance);
e) Enacting a law, requiring all law firms, law students and law practitioners to render
free legal assistance to the poor and remote barangays; and
f) Strengthening partnership mechanisms among the PAO, the courts, IBP and
alternative law groups to improve geographical access of public defense services
particularly in remote areas.

CPRM CONSULTANTS, INC. 4-7


United Nations Development Programme – Supreme Court of the Philippines
CONDUCT OF FURTHER STUDY ON OPERATIONS AND LINKAGES OF THE 5 PILLARS OF JUSTICE

Recommendation 11
ASSESS POSSIBILITIES FOR MAINSTREAMING CUSTOMARY MODES
OF ADJUDICATION IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (RA 8371) gives due recognition to the indigenous
peoples’ justice system and the use of their own traditional methodologies and practices for
conflict resolution. While the justice system among the indigenous peoples varies in
approaches and methodologies, common to these traditional practices is the participation of
the community members in settling disputes. These traditional forms of justice should be
reconciled with the national legal systems and internationally recognized human rights
processes and with the penal code. There is therefore a need to provide clear parameters
on how these may be integrated and made compatible with the current legal system of
government.

A study on the potential expansion of the jurisdiction of the Shari’a courts and the removal of
the overlapping of its functions with the regular lower courts should be also undertaken.

Recommendation 12
REMOVE DUPLICATION, OVERLAPPING, PROLIFERATION AND FRAGMENTATION
OF LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONS, REINTEGRATE POLICE FUNCTIONS,
AND REMOVE INSTITUTIONALIZED POLITICIZATION OF THE POLICE

In order to conserve severely limited budget resources, improve overall coherence and
efficiency, and clarify accountability, a system-wide rationalization of police institutions
should be undertaken through the following measures:

a) Removing duplication of functions and jurisdictions between the National Bureau of


Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP);
b) Reintegrating specialized crime agencies into the regular police force, thus removing
duplicative overhead expenditures and conflicting jurisdictions;
c) Reintegrating police powers and functions now assigned to more than 30 national
government agencies to a reorganized PNP/NBI; and
d) Defining the role of local governments in policing.

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United Nations Development Programme – Supreme Court of the Philippines
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Recommendation No. 13
STRENGTHEN THE CAPACITIES OF PROSECUTION AGENCIES
–NPS AND OMB

The government must strengthen the core capacities of prosecution agencies simply by
providing more prosecutors to the National Prosecution Service (NPS) and the Office of the
Ombudsman (OMB).

The criteria for the determination of the appropriate number of prosecutors should be
established based on caseload. Caseload fluctuations can be addressed by adopting some
flexible prosecutor deployment and tenure mechanisms which may include outsourcing
prosecutors and providing legal research staff to prosecutors, for example, through
deployment of law students as practicum

Recommendation No. 14
REENGINEER THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE CORRECTIONS PILLAR,
DEVOLVE DELIVERY WHILE MAINTAINING STRONG OVERSIGHT

The preparation of a devolution plan for the correction system and the rationalization of its
institutional framework within a devolution context are recommended. Such devolution
program will involve:

a) Transferring to provinces, cities and municipalities the responsibility for the provision
and maintenance of local jails.
b) Streamlining the oversight agencies of national government by removing their delivery
functions and strengthening their role in providing and enforcing standards.
c) Providing mechanisms for private sector participation in restorative justice and
providing half way houses particularly for women and youth offenders.

Recommendation No. 15
AMEND THE PROBATION LAW TO EXPAND ITS COVERAGE

The coverage of the Probation Law could be expanded to include sentences of prision mayor
medium, except in drug cases. This will ease the severely congested penal facilities in the
country and thereby contribute to the efficiency of the Bureau of Corrections in processing
papers of inmates and its effectiveness in providing restorative justice programs. This will
also lessen the caseload of the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology, as well as
the provincial and sub-provincial jails which manage their respective jail facilities. With
decongested local jails, limited resources can be used to improve prison conditions and put
in place mechanisms for restorative justice in local jails in partnership with LGUs, national
government agencies, civil society organizations and the communities.

Moreover, if more offenders could benefit from probation, they could be persuaded to enter a
guilty plea with the prospect of being put under probation instead of being imprisoned,
resulting in more criminal cases speedily disposed by the courts. This would also not only
prevent but minimize appeals.

CPRM CONSULTANTS, INC. 4-9


United Nations Development Programme – Supreme Court of the Philippines
CONDUCT OF FURTHER STUDY ON OPERATIONS AND LINKAGES OF THE 5 PILLARS OF JUSTICE

Recommendation No. 16
POPULARIZE THE LAW TOWARDS BETTER COMMUNITY CAPACITY
TO DEMAND JUSTICE REMEDIES AND IMPROVE COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION
IN PROVIDING JUSTICE REMEDIES

The general public who are familiar with the law may be better able to support and be more
cooperative with the police in solving crimes. They will have stronger capacities to demand
the provision of justice remedies thus strengthening the accountability of criminal justice
institutions. Aside from the strategy of tapping the media to popularize the law, other related
measures include:

a) Integrating criminal justice teaching exemplars or subjects into the formal education
system, building on the gains of the CHR’s teaching exemplars on human rights.
b) Integrating law popularization procedures in the legal assistance services of the
government and private sector and in the Barangay Justice System.

Recommendation No. 17
MAINSTREAMING RBA IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

This involves the design and implementation of rights-based approaches (RBA) by


mainstreaming them into the operational procedures and practices and in training programs
of policemen, prosecutors, lawyers and judges. RBA is now being formulated and
implemented by the CHR. What needs done is to formulate specific approaches and tools
and provide assistance to the pillars in conducting assessments of their policies, procedures
and practices. There is also a need to design appropriate RBAs and mainstream them into
these policies and procedures.

Recommendation No. 18
STRENGTHEN THE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
ACROSS THE PILLARS

The studies pointed to serious issues in human resources management that undermine the
efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of the criminal justice system. Reforms to address
these issues have been identified, including the following:

a) Conduct of study and rethinking the entire police education and training system,
considering its transfer to the PNP. Police training must produce competent policemen
who upon completion of training have acquired core competencies in all relevant
aspects of police operations and procedures, the law, and the police tools.
b) Integrating prosecutors’ training to the Philippine Judicial Academy and expanding the
training programs as well as the institutional capacities and resources of the Academy.
These include specialized training programs on case management, law and
jurisprudence, management of trials by judges, decision-writing and judicial
comportment by judges, case preparation by prosecutors, trial skills of prosecutors and
other specialized competency areas. PhilJA’s reach and delivery system must be
considerably improved.
c) Improving qualification standards for new recruits (police, investigators and agents and
prosecutors) accompanied by attractive compensation and benefit package, and

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United Nations Development Programme – Supreme Court of the Philippines
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career development opportunities; and expanding the skills mix for investigators and
other personnel involved in highly specialized crime intelligence and investigation.
d) Improving the policies and procedures for police performance evaluation and
promotion.
e) Designing and adopting new psychometric tools for policemen and judges to weed out
those whose character profile does not fit the integrity requirements and other
personality traits required for the job.

Recommendation No. 19
STRENGTHEN DISCIPLINARY MEASURES PARTICULARLY ON MATTERS
CONNECTED WITH CRIMINAL CASE MANAGEMENT

A review of disciplinary procedures and manuals on discipline in the pillars is recommended.


Disciplinary measures relating to compliance with specific rules on handling of criminal cases
should be put in place, synchronized with the improvement of operating rules and
procedures in the pillars, such as the rules of court. Specific measures can already be
adopted such as:

a) Imposing disciplinary actions on policemen who fail to appear during trials.


b) Imposing sanctions and penalties to lawyers who are notoriously tardy or absent during
court hearings. The courts must establish a tracking system on lawyers in litigation
cases.
c) Developing standards for police case investigation and arrest procedures and defining
compliance parameters together with sanctions for breaches in procedures.
d) Integrating in the performance standards and evaluation system criteria on managing
cases, reporting skills and performance, investigation performance, and imposition of
stronger disciplinary actions for habitual tardiness and absenteeism.

Recommendation No. 20
ADOPT A ONE-TIME COMPREHENSIVE ACTIVITY TO FAST TRACK
THE PROCESSING OF SOME 600, 000 CASES COMPRISING
THE CASE BACKLOG IN THE LOWER COURTS

This initiative will require planned action and resource mobilization which include among
others the following:

a) Identifying all courts with unmanageable case backlogs.


b) Undertaking an inventory of case backlogs.
c) Formulating a typology of cases as basis for the formulation of procedures and
determination of interim time standards.
d) Developing interim time standards and procedures for the processing of case backlogs.
e) Developing and implementing training programs for appointed judges who will
participate in the project.

CPRM CONSULTANTS, INC. 4-11


United Nations Development Programme – Supreme Court of the Philippines
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f) Designing an organizational mechanism for providing judges to process case backlogs.


g) Installing a project management mechanism to monitor the project, identify and
provide administrative and technical support systems and do trouble shooting if
necessary.
h) Developing mechanisms for cooperative arrangements with the other pillars of justice
(PNP,NBI, NPS, OMB and social defense agencies and private organizations) in order
to facilitate the gathering or provision of evidence, production of witnesses, provision of
legal assistance to pauper litigants, arrest of suspects, provision prosecutors, etc.

Recommendation No. 21
PASS LEGISLATION TO RATIFY INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND CONVENTIONS

International treaties and conventions are best exemplified by those pertaining to the
promotion and protection of human rights. At the core of the international human rights
system is the United Nations and its charter which was signed on 26 June 1945. The charter
provides provisions that set the foundation for the international human rights system. In
particular, under Article 55 of the charter, member-nations commit to promote “universal
respect for and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.” Article 56 of the charter provides that all
members commit to take joint and separate actions in cooperation with the UN to ensure the
achievement of the provisions of Article 55. The Philippines is signatory to 23 human rights
treaties and protocols. Thus, the government is bound to comply with and ensure the
implementation or observance of the provisions of these treaties and protocols.

International legal framework like that on the above on human rights provides normative
protection for access to justice by providing (a) international obligations for states; (b) other
standards that are not binding to the states as such but give normative guidance on specific
issues (e.g., resolutions, declarations, guiding principles, etc.) and may be indicative of a
growing internal consensus to further develop the international legal framework; (c) an
additional forum for access to justice (e.g. communications and inquiry procedures initiated
through treaty bodies and regional courts and commissions, in cases where national
mechanisms are ineffective); (d) mechanisms to monitor states compliance with treaty
obligations; and (e) an additional forum to create or influence national norm making.

The legal gaps in the protection of human rights include the non-inclusion of international law
in the national law of the country. This is specifically true in the case of torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments. The Philippines is a signatory of the
UN convention on the matter and on the international humanitarian law, but there is no
national law yet to implement the conditions and requirements of these commitments.

There is need therefore to study the legal barriers to international legal protection, especially
the non-incorporation in the national law of ratified treaties in which the country is a signatory.

CPRM CONSULTANTS, INC. 4-12