Sereno: Drug killings hurt rule of law perception in PH
The spate of drug-related killings have swung from improvement to downgrade the perception of rule of law in the country, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Wednesday in a speech at the 68th Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) meeting.
Sereno said efforts to reform the Judiciary and to make justice more accessible to the people was overshadowed by the daily accounts of unsolved killings with warnings against use and sell of illegal drugs.
“Despite all of the positive things (gains in judicial reforms) and even greater potential gains, we have to face the reality of the daily accounts of unsolved killings, many of them committed brazenly with public warnings against drug pushing or addiction,” Sereno said.
She said it is no longer surprising that the country’s rank in the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index went down in 2016.
The WJP Rule of Law Index is currently a benchmark for global perception based studies on the administration of justice.
The performance of the countries was measured based on the following factors: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil and criminal justice.
The index relied solely on primary data, measuring a nation’s adherence to the rule of law from the perspective of how ordinary people experience it.
Based on the WJP data, the Philippines jumped nine places in 2015 to rank 51 from 60 the previous year.
However, the Philippines went down to 70 in 2016.
“While the Philippine Judiciary takes its cue from the Constitution, laws and jurisprudential notions of independence and justice, and thus, will confine the Index to an input on deciding its priorities in judicial reform, it must take the index as an indicator of the serious erosion of trust in the criminal justice system, in the civil justice system and in regulatory agencies,” Sereno said.
She urged all three branches of government as well as the constitutional bodies to reflect on how they have been discharging their roles.
“The government pillars of criminal justice i.e., the Judiciary, the Department of Justice and its attached agencies including the National Prosecution Service and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) must come together to ponder on what kinds of genuine changes are required to bring about real justice,”she added.
To date, there are more than 6,000 people killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
The PNP is also under fire after investigation showed that its members have been responsible for the death of a Korean executive in October last year.