Bongbong Marcos: PH criminal justice system fully functioning, rule of law prevails
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday gave assurance before the world stage that the Philippines’ criminal justice system is “fully functioning.”
He issued the statement in a video message during the plenary session of the Second Session for Summit for Democracy, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejected the Philippine government’s appeal to suspend its probe into the bloody war on drugs.
“Let me emphasize, the rule of law prevails in the country—our criminal justice system is fully functioning,” Marcos said.
Marcos said the Philippines will continue to engage in democracy, human rights, and good governance “as long as these engagements are constructive, based on facts, and respectful of the Philippine sovereignty.”
“The Philippines will sustain its tradition of open, constructive, and active engagement on human rights on matters that will meaningfully contribute towards reinforcing the sinews of democracy and freedom,” he said.
In the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs, which is subject to a probe by the ICC, Marcos said the government continues to focus on strengthening state programs on rehabilitation, prevention, education and assistance to drug victims and their families, as well as ensuring transparency and accountability on law enforcement operations.
He said the Joint Program on Human Rights (UNJP) launched by the government with the United Nations in 2021 had shown significant progress in fostering consensus building and collaborative partnership in a broad range of target areas.
“We continue to improve mechanisms such as the AO35 inter-agency committee to enhance accountability. The Philippines’ commitment to fight impunity for atrocity crimes is solid and unwavering, notwithstanding the withdrawal of the country from the Rome Statute,” he said.
AO35 refers to Administrative Order No. 35, which created an inter-agency committee on extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons.
“The Philippines has a national legislation punishing heinous crimes. We have vigorously exercised our jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes, including those allegedly committed in the context of the anti-illegal drugs campaign,” the President added.
Marcos also said his administration has rolled out measures to achieve its objectives for people-centered growth and prosperity by consolidating reforms in the judicial system, believing that economic recovery and progress can only occur through transparent, effective, and responsible institutions.
“We are investing more to enhance the administration of justice through the various institutions and mechanisms already in place to protect the right to life, liberty and security of the Filipino people,” he said.
He added that the government prioritized the establishment of the Department of Migrant Workers to protect and promote the rights of more than 10 million Filipino migrants.
Marcos said the administration is also strengthening well-established accountability mechanisms and policies to protect women and children, stressing that the nation’s justice reform agenda acknowledges that real justice means the humane treatment of persons deprived of liberty and efficient prosecution of criminal cases.
Marcos said his administration is pouring resources and energy into improving the processes in the investigation of cases and the witness protection program.
He thanked US President Joe Biden and the US government for convening the Second Summit for Democracy, along with co-host countries Costa Rica, South Korea, The Netherlands, and Zambia.
According to the President, the Summit “affirms the solidarity of nations bound by values of democracy and sends a powerful message of our collective will to bring about the best of peoples and societies empowered by freedom.”
In December 2021, President Biden held the first of two Summits for Democracy, which brought together leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector to set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and tackling the greatest threats facing democracies.
The ICC earlier rejected the Philippine government’s request to suspend its probe into the drug war killings during the Duterte administration. Its appeal to stop the investigation is still pending.
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