Chief Justice Gesmundo says prosecutors are ‘gatekeepers of the judiciary’
MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Wednesday encouraged prosecutors to stand firm on their commitment to truth and justice, stressing that they are the “gatekeepers of the judiciary.”
Speaking at the 32nd National Convention of the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines in Davao City, the Supreme Court’s top magistrate reminded them of their deeper role in the justice system than regular lawyers and officers of the court.
“Judges rely on the cases you build, the evidence you gather, and the arguments you present in order to make informed and impartial decisions. Without your commitment to truth and justice, the criminal justice system would be rendered ineffectual,” Gesmundo told prosecutors.
He pointed out that courts can only function fairly and efficiently if prosecutors put in the proper effort.
“With your initial evaluation lies not just the peace of mind of a person accused but also his or her freedom. Lest you forget, you are the gatekeepers of the judiciary, and it is equally your duty to protect the rights of an accused, to free him or her of the burden of a criminal charge, when you honestly believe that the evidence presents no reasonable certainty of conviction,” Gesmundo said.
He then noted the overpopulation in the country’s jail facilities and that such a problem persists.
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“As part of the legal profession, it is our duty to maintain this nobility by practicing our profession to secure peace and order in society through the maintenance and safeguarding of the rule of law and through the promotion of justice. Let us approach our work with this sense of purpose, and with all humility, so that we may be open to improving ourselves in the fulfillment of our mandated duties,” Gesmundo said.
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