29.6 C
Monday, June 17, 2024

Judges back proposed PH Marshal System

- Advertisement -

The Philippine Judges Association on Monday backed the proposal of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta for the creation of the country’s version of marshal system to protect the justices, judges and other officials of the judiciary.

PCA president Felix Reyes said that the security system for the judiciary, which they dubbed as the Philippine Marshal System, would provide security escorts for justices and judges especially those handling sensitive cases and have death threats.

Reyes noted that 31 judges have been killed since 1999, of which 19 are regional trial court judges.

Of the 31, five were killed under the Duterte administration.

According to PCA official, most of the judges killed were “handling drug-related cases” and heinous crimes such as murder. He also said some judges were also killed for “personal reason.”

Reyes explained that the marshal system could be patterned after the US Marshal System and be under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court.

“They will provide security to judges, justices and other court employees. It should be headed by a chief marshal with background in security, intelligence and investigative work,” Reyes said, in an interview over ABS-CBN news channel.

Reyes said their group will initially propose the hiring of at least 500 marshals to secure judges and justices.

Besides providing security, the marshals will also conduct threat assessment for members of the judiciary who receive death threats.

Peralta is also pushing for the creation of a similar system as part of his 10-Point Agenda to strengthen and improve the security and safety of judges, justices and court personnel.

SC Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka said such a system would have the objective of law enforcement which is primarily connected to Judicial functions, such as but not limited to security of magistrates and court personnel, enforcement of court orders, safekeeping of evidence, and also of investigation.

The proposal has gained steam after last week’s killing of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Judge Mario Anacleto Banez by unidentified gunmen while he was on his way home in La Union.

Last Friday, Peralta said the killing of Banez could be related to the drug cases his sala is handling.

Pintac’s sala handled the drug cases against Parojinog siblings Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess and Reynaldo Jr. before they were transferred to the Quezon City RTC last year.

These killings took place even after the SC has already drew up measures to address the security concerns to curb the work-related killings of judges in the country.

In 2005, the SC approved the Guidelines for Detail of Court Personnel as Security of Judges covering all regional trial courts, metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts, municipal circuit trial courts and Sharia trial courts.

Under the guidelines, a judge who receives a threat to his life may apply with the Philippine National Police or the Court’s Security Committee for protection.

The SC has also inked an agreement with the PNP to grant permits to judges who receives threats to carry their firearms even outside their stations.


Popular Articles