Creation of Philippine Marshal Service to ensure security of judges sought
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to establish a Philippine Marshals Service Unit, an independent arm that would ensure the security of judges and assist in the administration of justice, has been filed in the Senate.
Senator Richard Gordon filed Senate Bill No. 118, also known as “An Act Creating the Philippine Marshal Service Under the Control and Supervision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes” after Supreme Court chief justice Diosdado Peralta stressed the need for a security force patterned after the United States Marshals Service.
“Our judges make every effort to guarantee fairness in every case that they handle. They have a vital impact on the people’s lives as they protect our liberties and sacred rights, and help victims of various violence and discriminations achieve justice,” Gordon said in filing the bill.
“And so, it is important that we also ensure their security and protect them from those who want to do them harm. Without the judges, there can be no justice,” he added.
The lawmaker earlier expressed concern over the high number of murder cases involving the judiciary in the country, which includes the ambush of Ilocos Sur Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez and former Municipal Trial Court Judge Exequil Dagala earlier this month.
According to the Philippine Judges Association, a total of 31 judges have been killed in the Philippines from January 1999 up to August this year. Ninety percent of them were regional trial court judges and only 10% of the cases have been solved.
Under Gordon’s proposed measure, the Philippine Marshal Service will be created under the SC through the Office of the Court Administrator.
Its functions include the protection of justices, judges, court officials, and personnel; conducting assessments and investigations of crimes against justices; making sure that court trials and hearings proceed accordingly; conducting investigations of irregularities committed by judges and justices; assisting in the implementation of court orders; and helping in the protection of witnesses; managing and disposing seized, frozen or forfeited assets by the Courts; conducting arrests, searches, and seizures in accordance with the Constitution; and performing other related functions as the SC, the Chief Justice or the Court Administrator may order.
The unit will be headed by a Chief Marshal and there will be three Deputy Marshals to be assigned in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
It will also be composed of different divisions namely such as Communications Division, Inspection Division, Judicial Security Division, Investigative Operations divisions, Witness Security Division, and Tactical Operations Divisions, to name some.
Edited by KGA
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