THE perception of the rule of law in the country has suffered due to the unresolved killings of drug suspects, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said on Wednesday.
In a speech during the 68th inaugural meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines in Makati City, Sereno said the improvement in the perception of the administration of justice in the country through judicial reform initiatives suffered a setback due to the killings over the past months.
“We have to face the reality of the daily accounts of unsolved killings, many of them committed brazenly with public warnings against drug pushing or addiction,” Sereno said.
“It is not surprising, therefore, that the perception of the rule of law in our country has swung from marked improvement to a downgrade.”
Sereno cited the drop in the country’s ranking in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index from 51st in 2015 to 70th last year as an “indicator of the serious erosion of trust in the criminal justice system, in the civil justice system and in regulatory agencies.”
She said the drop in perception of the rule of law in the country called on all three branches of government and independent constitutional bodies “to reflect on how they have been discharging their roles in a way that has brought about this state of affairs.”
She also suggested to the pillars of the criminal justice system”•the judiciary, the Department of Justice and it’s attached agencies and the Philippine National Police”•to work together and come up with genuine changes.
“It is only when institutions faithfully comply with what the law requires can we experience long-term stability as a country even beyond changes in administration,” Sereno said.
“At the same time, all institutions involved in the administration of justice are duty bound to pro-actively report to the people the improvements they are trying to carry out in their areas.”
Sereno stressed that the Supreme Court would pursue its efforts to reform the judiciary.
“If you believe that the judiciary leadership is sincere, what I will ask of you in return is to continue to believe in the rule of law,” she said.
The Philippine National Police says the latest update on Project Double Barrel Alpha from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017 indicated that 2,208 drug pushers and users were killed after they allegedly tried to fight it out with the police. The figure was higher by 41 compared to the report from July 1 to Dec. 31.
From July 1 to Dec. 14 last year, an average of 30 drug suspects were killed daily, or a total of 2,102 during the first 167 days of the Duterte administration as the PNP carried out a brutal campaign against illegal drugs nationwide.