Supreme Court working toward more efficient justice system

·2 min read
Manila, PHILIPPINES: In this photo taken 25 October 2006 shows the Philippine Supreme Court building in Manila. (Photo: ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)
Manila, PHILIPPINES: In this photo taken 25 October 2006 shows the Philippine Supreme Court building in Manila. (Photo: ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

Supreme Court Administrator Raul Villanueva assured the House Committee on Justice that they have issued a circular that would temporarily release detained individuals, should they meet the minimum imposable penalty of their crime.

“Circulars have been issued already in so far as allowing them to be released on recognizance if they have served the minimum of the imposable penalty for the crime that they have committed,” Villanueva said on Monday (September 12).

He added that the Supreme Court (SC) issued an administrative order for computing bail, which may be used to make bail more affordable.

“Likewise, the Supreme Court issued an administrative order providing for the computation of the bail that may be posted in which may be reduced based on that formula,” he said. “We’re doing everything to afford all of those who are entitled to bail to post bail so that while their cases are pending, they can enjoy provisional liberty.”

This comes after Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga pointed out that many detainees have have exceeded the penalty of the offense they’ve supposedly committed.

“Because these people who are currently serving detention for a very long period of time are very poor,” Barzaga said. “They cannot afford to get the services of a lawyer, and normally, they are being detained for so long, much longer than the penalty to be imposed upon them.”

The court administrator said that they were looking into the possibility that judges be required to give the SC a listing of circulars being implemented.

Political prisoner and former Senator Leila de Lima expressed dismay and criticized the criminal justice system for “lacking a soul” and being broken “in body and spirit.”

In 2014, veteran journalist Neal Cruz called the Philippine justice system as the “slowest in the world”, citing several cases that remain pending in the courts, such as those against dictator’s wife Imelda Marcos that have been ongoing since 1986.

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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