Press Release
September 21, 2010

After DoJ budget hearing

DRILON: The committee is fully supportive of the budget of the Department of Justice, P7.7 billion for 2011. In fact, we would want to augment the budget by filling up the vacant positions in the National Prosecution Service, so that we can achieve the ratio of 1 prosecutor for every court, the regional trial courts, because the speedier dispensation of justice can only be possible when you have enough prosecutors to man the court system. And of course the Public Attorney's Office must also be correspondingly supported because this provides free legal service to indigents. So this should be the thrust of this year's budget of the DoJ. We have directed the DBM to sit down with the DoJ in order to augment the personnel service so that we can hire about 400 more prosecutors, sourced from the General Appropriations Act, particularly the miscellaneous fund. There is an item in the budget which can answer for these salaries of duly filled positions.

Q: Amounting to what?

DRILON: They could not yet determine. They will submit a report to us as to how much would be necessary. First to upgrade the existing salary scale of the prosecutors, which is necessary under the laws that we passed, and number 2, to augment the manpower by authorizing the hiring of additional prosecutors. We will require a submission by the DoJ of their recruitment process to make sure that the process would be shielded from political pressure. If we are going to pursue seriously the pillar of transparency, accountability and good governance of the Aquino administration, we must strengthen the DoJ. Second item is on the Bureau of Corrections where they are now sitting on a 400-hectare penitentiary in Muntinlupa. The direction of the BuCor should be to regionalize the penal system because this regionalization will achieve 2 purposes: first, it will augur well and it will help in the rehabilitation of our inmates when they are closer to their families in the provinces. There can be more visitations, interaction and therefore this will go a long way in the rehabilitation of our prisoners. The second benefit is that we will free about 400 hectares of prime property in Metro Manila which can be privatized and developed and it can generate economic activity for the country. You can imagine the potential economic activity that can be generated by the development of 400 hectares of prime property which is now used only as a penitentiary. We can regionalize the BuCor and hit 2 birds with one stone�a better facility for the rehabilitation of our inmates and the government having a disposable asset which can go a long way in augmenting the government resources and therefore achieve our objective of a balanced budget.

Q: Yung director ng BuCor may sinasabi na may specific funding requirements?

DRILON: Yes. He said it will take P800 million for 1 regional penitentiary to be built to accommodate 5,000 inmates. That's the ideal. But even at P800 million and you establish, let's say, 4 regionalized penitentiaries, that's P3.2 billion. You can imagine the kind of resources that can be generated out of that before this valuable asset gets dissipated by various presidential issuances which would give away this very valuable asset to various sectors of society.

Q: On regionalization of penitentiary.

DRILON: There will be 1 national penitentiary and 4 regional detention centers. The director of prison is saying they have 20,000 inmates and he was mentioning about 1 regional penitentiary being able to accommodate 5,000 inmates. So he is looking at 4 regional penitentiaries.

Q: 2 probably in Luzon, 1 in Visayas and 1 in Mindanao?

DRILON: That's correct, or 1 in Southern Luzon, 1 in Northern Luzon, 1 in the Visayas and 1 in Mindanao.

Q: Not per region?

DRILON: Hindi naman. That would be 14 regions.

Q: When would be the regionalization?

DRILON: It is not yet there. They'll start working on it and we are looking at 2012.

Q: On Arch. Cruz revelations on jueteng...

DRILON: I haven't seen the names. I'm as interested as you are. But I understand there are no senators.

Q: On the jueteng list...

DRILON: It should provide a lead to our law enforcement agencies on the players of jueteng. Number 2, it should provide basis for reforms that we would like to implement insofar as jueteng is concerned. Whether or not there is enough evidence to prosecute them, I do not know. I haven't seen the list, I haven't seen the evidence.

Q: On the legal perspective until there's enough evidence...

DRILON: Yes it is just a list. But it is a lead as to who are involved.

Q: May potential liability ba si Tony Boy Cojuangco because he interceded on behalf of Usec. Puno?

DRILON: I do not know, it's difficult to answer that Butch just sitting down here. Excuse muna ako. Hindi ko kayang sagutin yan.

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