Press Release
August 13, 2007

Kiko Welcomes Chief Justice Puno's Positive Response
on Proposed Joint Judiciary Executive Legislative
Advisory and Consultative Council (JELACC)

Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan welcomed the affirmative response of Chief Justice Reynato Puno regarding the former's proposal to create an ad hoc Joint Judiciary Executive Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council (JELACC) after a meeting at the Supreme Court today.

"Chief Justice Puno expressed his full support for our proposal to create a Joint Judiciary Executive Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council (JELACC) to thresh out the mechanics of systematically and strategically modernizing the Judiciary, in order to put in track the much needed legislative, executive and judicial muscle necessary to deliver justice in the most expeditious manner possible. The Judiciary under CJ Puno has been steadfast in claiming the Judiciary's stake in the state of human rights in the country, even exploring new venues in which problems could be addressed, such as the recently concluded National Summit and Extra Judicial Killings. We appreciate this openness of the Chief Justice and his willingness to explore new ways of consolidating efforts to promote justice and the rule of law," Kiko said.

"I sat down with the Chief Justice and finalized the initiative to create JELACC the soonest time possible. The leaderships of the Senate and the House of Representatives have already expressed their support for this move, and President Arroyo likewise approved this council in principle when I brought it up during the LEDAC. The council will be composed of the President or her representative, the Chief Justice or his representative, the Speaker and the Senate President or their representatives, and other envoys of the Judiciary, Executive and the Legislative modernization needs of the Judiciary. The council will explore the necessary budgetary support for filling the vacancy in our courts, the creation of more courts, and the promotion of a strategic response to strengthening the rule of law. We trust that the convention will be underway soon now that everyone has agreed to it," Kiko added.

"I am aware that there may be issues raised about the independence of the Judiciary vis--vis the other branches of government if it participates in the said advisory council but the ad hoc nature of the council, whose purpose is to meet a need that is temporary in nature, may be a valid and justifiable ground for the creation of the council. I would liken the participation of the Judiciary in the advisory council to its participation in congressional budget hearings wherein the Judiciary's co equal status and its independence is neither compromised nor diminished," Kiko asserted.

"The JELAC can be instrumental in putting an end to political killings and enforced disappearances. We need to ensure that the respect for the rule of law in the country remains steadfast. We can realistically increase the conviction rates of our courts. Only when we punish more and punish swiftly will there be genuine respect for the rule of law and obedience to the same. Today the battle cry of would be criminals and syndicates is 'we can get away with it anyway' and hence are emboldened to transgress the law at will. When only 2 or 3 out of ten cases end up in conviction then many are able to go scot free while only a few are punished. We must find a way to reduce the average case life from 6 years to say 2 to 3 years in the next 5 to 7 years. Ensuring the swift disposition of cases will strike fear in the hearts of would be criminals that in fact cases are resolved and the guilty punished. We need to raise the share of the judiciary, a co-equal branch, in the annual budget. A mere .8 percent of the entire national budget is not enough to strengthen respect for the rule of law in the country," Kiko ended.

News Latest News Feed