To address the backlog of 384,625 pending cases as of 2016 that is handled by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Senator Dick Gordon vowed to immediately look into a bill proposing amendments to the National Prosecution Service (NPS) law.
During the deliberation of the 2018 budget of the DOJ, Gordon pointed out that the backlog of cases, both criminal and civil, should be addressed to stop criticisms that the country’s justice system is very slow.
“Mr. President, let me lay the predicate for this, ang caseload po nila ay 384,625 as of 2016. These are prosecution statistics. This is too much for any department. This is a caseload for several departments of justice. But I will look into this right away, because I think one of the big criticisms about our country is that our justice system is very, very slow,” the veteran legislator manifested when informed that a bill had been filed by Senator Loren Legarda that was referred to the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which he chairs.
The DOJ admitted that the department needs to hire additional prosecutors, stating that there is already an allocation. However, there is a need to amend the NPS law to expedite the hiring process to ensure the speedy processing in the appointment of prosecutors.
Under Republic Act No. 10071 or the Prosecution Service Act of 2010, Prosecutors I to Prosecutors V shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. Meanwhile, prosecution attorneys and special counsels shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice.
The seasoned lawmaker assured that the Committee on Justice and Human Rights is prepared to work on the proposed bill immediately and he could sponsor the bill at the soonest time possible so it could be passed before the end of the year.
“Certainly, the Committee on Justice should be ready to consider it and try to get it amended. Because you cannot have 384,625 cases and say that the President is not appointing lawyers because of that simple provision,” the senator from Olongapo and Zambales said.