Press Release
September 6, 2010


Senator Chiz Escudero wants another way to declog the judiciary with pending cases which have been dragging on for years in courts with the passage of his bill penalizing any public employee who fails to appear and testify in any criminal proceedings.

Senate Bill No. 2113 (SBN 2113) seeks to address the perennial problem of a continuous delay in disposition of criminal cases in courts due to non-appearance of witnesses during preliminary and formal investigations.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice said filing of criminal cases seem easy but seeing these cases through conviction is very low, specially drug-related cases due to lack of interest of law enforcement officers to appear and testify in court.

"But this is also true in all other cases. It must be remembered that prosecution of criminal cases rely heavily on testimonial evidence. In drug-related cases, there is a heavy-reliance on the testimony of the police. But in most instances, there is a difficulty in taking the police to appear on the witness stand".

The senator said this proves to be a big obstacle in disposition of cases which congests our already congested courts with cases.

In Escudero's proposal, failure or refusal to testify as witness in any criminal proceedings of any member of any government agencies , after due notice shall be penalized with imprisonment of 12-20 years and a fine of not less than five hundred thousand pesos with perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

The bill also punishes the head of office or agency for failure to exert reasonable effort to present his subordinate. Penalty is imprisonment of not less than 2 months but not more than six years and a fine from ten to fifty thousand pesos. Perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office is will also be meted.

Escudero said appearing as witness is part of the law enforcers' official duties and it should be effectively and responsibly attended to.

"We have to continuously find ways and means by which we can establish rightful and judicious processes because this is everyone's right".

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