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New DoJ chief: Get rid of corruption, shore up competence

By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:14:00 07/02/2010

Filed Under: Graft & Corruption, Judiciary (system of justice), Government

MANILA, Philippines ? Justice Secretary Leila De Lima called on prosecutors and employees of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to be agents of reform by ?ridding ourselves of corruption and shoring up our competence.?

In her speech during the turnover at the DoJ Friday, De Lima said the marching orders of President Benigno Aquino III were not mere election promises.

?Reform is a fundamental theme of this administration: first to rid ourselves of corruption and second to shore up our competence,? De Lima said.

?We will play a key role in ensuring that reform takes place at all strata of government. Indeed, the pillars of justice stands firmly only when the DoJ and all its attach agencies are performing up to par,? De Lima said.

?Therefore, it is imperative that any grand effort to reform government in this new administration must begin with the most stringent and ardent efforts to reform the DoJ itself.?

Among De Lima?s initial tasks would be:

? An inventory and computerization of the case management system to strengthen the administrative support for all prosecutors;
? Encouraging lawyers to join the DoJ;
? Establishing a suitable feedback mechanism based on a strengthened case management system;
? Streamlining task forces by reviewing and consolidating their functions or eliminating them altogether. The task force on anti-smuggling and tax evasion, for example, will be at the forefront of the government policy to replenish and protect government coffers and eliminate deficit while DoJ prosecutors in the task force on Anti-Trafficking in Person will undergo training in relevant laws to eliminate multi-tasking and juggling priorities that lead to delay in prosecution of cases;
? Reviewing and auditing and genuine implementing the Witness Protection Program.

?From the CHR, I am well versed in the weakness of the WPP and I have been tremendously troubled by the injustices that emanate from its failure to be 100 percent effective,? De Lima said.

She added that all high profile cases would be resolved expeditiously.

De Lima added that in the following days, she would be making evaluations and determine where to start reforms.

She will also use as guide the wishlist that former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra gave her.

Agra said the wishlist contained reforms he could have pursued if only there was enough time.

?I humbly offer you my devoted leadership just as I will ask you to offer your experience, knowledge and expertise,? De Lima said.



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