The Daily Manila Shimbun


Killings pulled down perception of rule of law in Philippines-Sereno

January 25, 2017

Unresolved killings of drug suspects have lowered the perception of rule of law in the Philippines, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Wednesday.

Speaking before the Management Association of the Philippines , Sereno said improvement in perception in the administration of justice through reforms suffered a setback due to the killings.

"Despite all of these positive things 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. It is not surprising, therefore, that the perception of the rule of law in our country has swung from marked improvement to a downgrade," Sereno said.

Sereno said the Philippines' ranking in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index went down from 51st place in 2015 to 70th place last year. It is an "indicator of the serious erosion of trust in the criminal justice system, in the civil justice system and in regulatory agencies," she said

The Philippine National Police said the update on Project Double Barrel Alpha from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017 showed 2,208 drug pushers and users were killed after they tried to fight it out with police. The figure was higher by 41 compared to the report from July 1 to Dec. 31.

From July 1 to Dec. 14 last year, an average of 30 drug suspects died aily or a total of 2,102 during the first 167 days of the Duterte administration.

During the same period, suspected vigilantes killed 2,886 people. Police classified these cases as “deaths under investigation”..

Sereno said the Philippines’ ranking in the index went up from from  60th in 2014 due to reforms, including going after corrupt and erring members of the judiciary that led to dismissal of a Sandiganbayan justice and 16 trial court judges in the past four years.

Sereno said there is a need for three branches of government and independent constitutional bodies "to reflect on how they have been discharging their roles in a way that has brought about this state of affairs.”

"It is only when institutions faithfully comply with what the law requires can we experience long-term stability as a country even beyond changes in administration. At the same time all institutions involved in the administration of justice are duty bound to proactively report to the people the improvements they are trying to carry out in their areas," she pointed out. DMS