Press Release
February 27, 2021


Senator Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa raised concerns over the granting of investigative powers to the proposed Office of the Judiciary Marshals, saying that such move might result to encroachment of power between the executive and judicial branches of the government.

The Mindanaoan Senator raised the issue on Wednesday, February 24, during the period of interpellation on Senate Bill No. 1947 which seeks to create the Office of the Judiciary Marshals, a measure co-sponsored by Dela Rosa.

Under the proposed measure, the judiciary marshals shall have investigative powers over various crimes involving members of the judiciary which is currently a mandate of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), both under the executive department.

The measure stated that the judiciary marshals, whose main task is to protect and secure judges, justices, courts and other court personnel, will be under the Judiciary.

"We also established that investigation involving crimes committed in our country is well within the mandate of the executive department. Kung bibigyan natin ng investigative power ang Office of the Judiciary Marshals para mag-imbestiga ng mga kaso involving judges, justices at court personnel, hindi ba posible na magkakaroon ng encroachment of power ang judiciary at executive?" Dela Rosa asked.

The former Chief of the Philippine National Police acknowledged the low crime solution efficiency of the law enforcement agencies at present, but said that granting investigative powers to the judiciary marshals will compound the problem.

"I share with you in your frustrations over what is happening right now. Yung mga judges natin ay pinapatay at very low yung crime solution efficiency na pinapakita ngayon ng ating mga law enforcement at investigating agencies. But it is my humble opinion na maybe kung nakikita natin na ang problema ngayon is somewhat maku-consider natin na parang behavioral or attitudinal ng police or NBI in conducting such investigations, siguro we cannot solve this problem by compounding to the problem. By adding additional structural or systemic problems na mangyayari dito kung magkakaroon ng overlapping functions between and among law enforcement agencies," he said.

Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, stressed the issue of overlapping of functions and the possible undue influence on the court's decision on cases considering that they will be also handling the probe.

"Di ba sa ating criminal justice system we have the police, we have the prosecution, we have the courts, we have the corrections and we have the community. Itong police at saka prosecution, they are under the executive department kasi itong courts ay under the judiciary," Dela Rosa said.

"Ang problema ngayon, ang judiciary marshals under the judiciary. Sila na nag-imbestiga at ang court sila rin magde-decide, so hindi ba magkakaron ng undue influence yung magiging decision ng korte sa kaso na kanilang bibigyan ng desisyon?" he further explained.

"Parang magkaka-problema tayo dyan na sila na nag-imbestiga, sila pa magbigay ng desisyon sa kaso," Dela Rosa stressed.

In efforts to resolve the issue of encroachment of power, Dela Rosa said that it will be better to place the proposed judiciary marshals under the supervision of the Department of Justice which is under the executive branch.

"Baka pwede natin ituloy itong judiciary marshals pero meron silang protective powers over the judges and justices, sila magse-secure ng courts at the same time meron silang investigative powers, pero baka pwede natin ilagay sa executive under the DOJ?" Dela Rosa said.

The senator also suggested another option to Senator Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the removal of the investigative powers of the judiciary marshals if it will remain in the judiciary.

Dela Rosa expressed that aside from the issues of the encroachment of power and undue influence, he fully supports the protection of our judiciary, which he highlighted earlier as the last bastion of democracy. One of the bills tackled by Gordon's committee is Senate Bill 1237 or An Act Creating the Judicial Marshal Service authored by Dela Rosa.

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