SC chief Peralta wants US-Marshall patterned security for PH judges
MANILA – Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta is pitching for a legislative act that will create a battalion-size independent armed unit patterned after the United States Marshall Service to secure the judiciary.
“We have around 2,600 courts in the Philippines and [the number is] increasing. The ideal number [for the marshall] would be 500,” Peralta told reporters during the “Salu-salo kasama ang Punong Mahistrado.”
The creation of a US Marshal Service-type of security was one of the 10-point agenda raised by Peralta during his first flag-raising ceremony as head magistrate of the High Court last Oct. 28.
Last Tuesday, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez was shot to death last Tuesday. He was the fifth active judge killed since 2017 and the 31st active judge killed since 1999.
Of the 31 judges killed, only around 10 percent have been solved.
“If we had a Marshall patterned after America, our Marshalls can do the work. In other words, they could investigate, they can summon witnesses to appear in the investigation and allow them to file the cases before the fiscal’s office. In that way, we have control of our Marshalls, we can get positive results,” Peralta said.
According to its website, the US Marshals Service was the first federal law enforcement agency in the US put up in 1789 and is the enforcement arm of the federal courts, involved in virtually every federal law enforcement initiative.
The duties of the US Marshals Service include protecting the federal judiciary, apprehending federal fugitives, managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities, housing and transporting federal prisoners and operating the Witness Security Program. The marshals also provide assistance in locating and apprehending their most violent fugitives.
“If Congress is willing to help us, probably they could come up where there are powers given to investigative bodies like NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), PNP (Philippine National Police) be given to us,” he added.
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