New law to help ensure delivery of justice in PH

June 14, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 279 views

A NEW law signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last month that created the Office of Judiciary Marshals (OJM) will not only provide security to members of the country’s court system, but will also help ensure the efficient and effective delivery of justice in the country, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has said.

“When our judges and justices feel safe, secure and protected, they can render their rulings on cases more efficiently, without feeling threatened or harassed,” said Villafuerte, who was a principal author of the measure in the House of Representatives that seeks to create the judiciary marshals’ office.

Villafuerte said the creation of the OJM was a long-overdue step in strengthening the country’s judicial system.

He said President Duterte’s signing of this bill into law was timely, given the increasing number of attacks against judges in the Philippines in recent years.

According to the Philippine Judges Association (PJA), five judges have been killed since 2017—totaling 31 active judges killed since 1999.Of the 31 judges, 90 percent were regional trials court (RTC) judges

Only 10% of these killings were solved, he lamented.

The President signed Republic Act (RA) No. 11691 or the Judiciary Marshals Act last month.

Villafuerte said the law is patterned after the United States Marshals Service, and provides that the officials and personnel of the OJM shall possess suitable and adequate firearms for the proper safety and protection of the justices, judges, court officials and personnel.

Under the law, the OJM shall conduct threat assessments, investigations and forensic analyses of crimes and threats committed against judiciary members and court properties.

The OJM will be headed by a Chief Marshal, to be assisted by three deputy marshals in charge of, assigned and stationed in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.

Upon the directive of the Supreme Court (SC), the Chief Justice or the Court Administrator, the Office of the Judiciary Marshals may also issue subpoenas for the appearance of any person for investigation, apply for search warrants before any court of law, and file complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice (DOJ), or city or provincial prosecutors.

The office can also take and require sworn statements from any summoned person or administer the oath of any person in relation to cases under investigation.

It may also make arrests and conduct searches and seizures, have access overall public records under the custody of any government branch, possess suitable and adequate firearms, request assistance from law enforcement agencies, and establish a Judiciary Marshals Academy.