MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia New Network): The Philippines is “undertaking transformational reform” of its justice system, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said.
During a dialogue on the Philippines at the 51st session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on Wednesday (Oct 5), Remulla stressed the country’s efforts to address human rights issues under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The Philippines, through the unifying leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, is undertaking transformational reform of its justice and law enforcement sectors,” the Justice chief was quoted as saying in his opening remarks.
He added that “real justice in real time” is needed to boost national human rights protection.
Remulla boasted of Marcos’ policy directives to focus efforts on the war against illegal drugs on the arrest of criminal masterminds as well as on the rehabilitation of victims and assistance to their kin.
The Secretary of Justice said a total of 302 drug cases have been referred by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Review Panel to the National Bureau of Investigation for case buildup.
Remulla urged civil society organisations to team up with the government to give information for case filing, assuring them that the witness protection program would be strengthened so “fear will not impede justice.”
Moreover, he announced the DOJ’s plan to release 5,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) or inmates by June next year. Last month, 371 PDLs were freed after serving their sentences.
Aside from decongesting jails, Remulla noted the initiatives led by the DOJ to enhance access to justice and accountability mechanisms and the re-training of law enforcement personnel.
Remulla said the DOJ “will work tirelessly under my watch and do all it can with other government agencies and partners to raise our standards, decongest our prisons, protect witnesses, hold perpetrators accountable, and most of all – inject human rights into the DNA of all processes of law enforcement and delivery of justice.”
“There is no turning back... it is a responsibility which the Administration of President Marcos takes on with utmost seriousness, professionalism, and vigour.
“Understand the context of our challenges...on the ground...Trust... and work with us to realise the vision of human rights and justice for all,” the chief said.
Recognising the Philippines’ constructive engagement with the international community on human rights, UN member states noted the Philippine government’s progress in bolstering domestic accountability mechanisms and institutions.
The UN member states also committed to continuing support to the UN Joint Program on Human Rights.
Remulla assured the international community that the Philippines remain committed to the pursuit and expansion of human rights programs.
The International Criminal Court started a probe into the brutal war on drugs by the administration of former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and the alleged human rights violations linked to it.