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Aguirre has asked Palace for authority to appoint prosecutors

/ 07:31 PM November 27, 2017
Vitaliano Aguirre II

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday said he had already requested Malacañang Palace to give the Department of Justice (DOJ) the authority to appoint prosecutors.

Aguirre said this would help the DOJ immediately address the problem of lack of prosecutors.

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“Nandoon na sa Malcañang,” he said. “Actually. during our last meeting with the President, yun talaga ang request namin para mapabilis that prosecutors should be appointed by the secretary (DOJ),” Aguirre told reporters in a chance interview at the turnover ceremony of the 2017 edition of Manual for Prosecutors and Developed Projects Outputs held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

[It’s already with Malacañang. Actually, during our last meeting with the President that is what we have requested for a speedy appointment of prosecutors by the secretary.]

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He said the Office of the President had been working to expedite the appointment of prosecutors. But the process was somewhat delayed due to the latter’s numerous other work to do.

However, he admitted that with his request, the National Prosecution Service law might need to be amended for the DOJ to be given that authority.

Earlier, Aguirre, a private prosecutor before he was appointed to the DOJ last year, said his office was saddled with 4,000 more cases than the 10,000 he inherited from his predecessor due to the lack of prosecutors to handle the said cases.

He said the DOJ urgently need new prosecutors adding that it has more than 1, 000 vacancies alone.

Shortly after he assumed office last year, Aguirre said the DOJ needed 500 more prosecutors to address the backlog.

Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno acknowledged the problem when she said last year that the lack of prosecutors was further aggravated by the influx of drug-related cases filed in courts.

As of February this year, data showed there are 128,368 pending drug-related cases being heard nationwide by 715 regional trial courts designated to hear such cases.

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During Monday’s event, Aguirre said the Manual of Prosecutors will be a big help to newly appointed prosecutors.

“It is my fervent hope that through this user-friendly three volume manual, the resolutions that will be produced by such usage will not only be viable instruments of justice, it should also stand up to scrutiny in the crucible of review,” he added.

The manual provides a step-by-step guide to prosecutors – from the preliminary investigation of the case to the filing of the case in court to its resolution. It details how to make pleadings and petitions.

”This is really of big help especially to newly-appointed prosecutors because there are samples and templates on what to do,” he added.

The DOJ received the more than 2,000 copies of the manual from the US Embassy through US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative country director Robert La Mont, and International Development Law Organization field program director Cathleen Cagaanan.

The manual updates the 2008 manual used by state prosecutors. /atm

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TAGS: Department of Justice, State Prosecutors, Vitaliano Aguirre II
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