Do We Need the ICC?
Philippine Justice System in Numbers (the Hard Evidence)
March 21, 2023
DOJ Secretary Boying Remulla was reported over the weekend to have said that our current justice system was “competent, capable, and running”.
Let’s look at some anecdotal evidence:
There is the case of former Senator Leila de Lima: at its most basic, she immediately requested for bail, but for more than six years now the courts have been dithering, unable or unwilling to decide.But her case pales in comparison with those of less fortunate persons deprived of liberty who have spent five years and more in detention with nary a court hearing (google Miguel Syjuco’s piece in the NY Times some time ago – see below). This in turn pales in comparison with the fact that out of thousands of deaths (9,000 official, 27,000 unofficial, but these vary ) in the Duterte Drug War, only one case (that of Kian de los Santos) has been resolved.
Now let’s look at the hard evidence, in case we are criticized for offering only anecdotes.
THE PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2023-2028
The first piece of hard evidence is the assessment of the Philippine government itself on the justice situation. It’s contained in the present administration’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 , Chapter 13, “Ensure Peace and Security and Enhance Administration of Justice”. It says,
“The overall percentile rank of the Philippines in cross-country indices remains low. The country failed to meet the 2022 targets in fundamental rights (29.00 vis-à-vis 15.71), civil justice (27.00 vis-à-vis 25.71), and criminal justice (29.00 vis-à-vis 16.43) sub-indicators under the World Justice Project. It likewise failed to meet the 2021 target in rule of law index (50.00 vis-à-vis 26.92) under the Worldwide Governance Indicators.”
“Despite… positive developments, several policy reforms and key legislations remain unattained, such as “Fragmentation of the criminal justice system remains a challenge”, “ Backlogs in resolving cases, delays caused by inefficient practices, and aging persist”, “ Limited resources weaken the justice sector,” and “Low public confidence in the justice system undermines the rule of law”