DOJ does not deny shortcomings

Armed police officers in front of the DOJ office in Manila, Philippines
Armed police stand guard outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila, Philippines on December 28, 2009. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, talking about “transformational reforms” being implemented by the administration, did not deny that the justice system has flaws as he pointed out on Wednesday (October 5) in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

“These targeted and bold measures aim to change the culture of our judicial and law enforcement system, which have produced certain flaws and delays in the carriage of justice,” he said. “They are also in line and in some cases, go beyond international standards and best practices.”

Remulla flaunted the Marcos administration’s approach to illegal drugs, seemingly a polar opposite from the term of Rodrigo Duterte when some human rights groups tallied that the drug war death toll was already around 30,000.

“President Marcos's refocus on the anti-illegal drug campaign, tackling the source of the problem,” Remulla claimed. “He has stated that criminal masterminds must be apprehended and punished, not small-scale users on the street.”

The justice secretary added, “He [Marcos Jr.] has emphasized the need for rehabilitation, prevention, education, and assistance to victims and their families.”

He also mentioned that the DOJ plans on releasing 5,000 Persons Deprives of Liberty (PDL) by June 2023.

Human rights advocates, however, think otherwise of the administration, despite the DOJ’s announcement of reforms.

“There is a disconnect between the rhetoric and what's happening on the ground. The most crucial aspect of all of these is one, the drug war needs to stop,” Human Rights Watch senior researcher Carlos Conde said.

“Human rights situation in the Philippines remains dire. Domestic remedies remain largely ineffective in achieving successful prosecution of perpetrators of extra-judicial killings and other violations.” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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