Press Release
September 1, 2011

Cayetano: Institutional reforms needed to improve the quality
of the Philippine judicial system

'Long Stories, all drama, no ending in the Phl Justice System'

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano scored the faulty justice system in the country citing the continued delay in the investigation and prosecution of named perpetrators of crimes involving the rich and powerful personalities in government.

He lamented the slow response of government in initiating an investigation of clear cases of criminal offenses despite preponderance of evidence presented and statements by witnesses during senate hearings,

Cayetano noted that the stories reported by media end up becoming "a long-winded journey without the finality of a decision in the end".

"Long stories, all drama, no ending in our justice system" is how the senator describes the prevailing situation in the country today when affluent and powerful personalities are implicated.

He cited the continued delay in the reopening of the Hello Garci electoral scandal despite the number of witnesses who have come forward indicating willingness to tell all.

He urged the Aquino administration to take advantage of the momentum created by the surfacing of witnesses and their revelations regarding the electoral fraud in 2004 and 2007.

The senator urged the Supreme Court to institute sweeping reforms to dispel the common belief that cases involving the rich and powerful are allowed to drag on for as long as 20 years eventually leaving no one punished.

"We need institutional reforms to improve the efficiency of our judicial system," he said.

The senator asked that investigations and trials be speeded up without violating the constitutional rights of the accused and he suggested a joint meeting of representatives of the three branches of government to discuss and recommend mechanics that can be adopted given today's present set of laws and policies.

"How do we limit the time of investigation? How do we limit the time that they are prosecuted and speed up the hearings?" he asked.

Cayetano noted that the country could learn from other countries that succeeded in advancing the state of their judicial systems where a guilty party holding a high position in society is promptly punished.

"In our country, it's all drama but no conclusion," he added.

He stressed that if the government is serious in reforming our judicial system, the office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice should begin to resolve long-pending cases.

"The on-going investigations into the use of the PNP helicopters and the still-unresolved Hello Garci scandal will be a good place for them to start," he suggested.

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