The national organization of judges on Thursday urged the government to implement a marshal system tasked to provide protection for members of the bench after the recent killing of a judge in Ozamiz City.
The Philippine Judges Association, through its president and Marikina Regional Trial Court Judge Felix Reyes, suggested the enactment of a law creating the Philippine Marshal System that would provide security for justices and judges and also handle cases of killings and attacks against them.
Reyes stressed the killing of their colleague, Ozamiz City RTC Judge Edmundo Pintac, last Monday called for a stringent measure to protect judges.
“This Philippine Marshal System will address the security concerns facing our justices and judges,” Reyes said in an interview.
According to him, their organization was now drafting the bill to be submitted to Congress for this purpose.
“The Philippine Marshal will be placed under the authority of the Supreme Court. We’re considering hiring retired police and military personnel to serve as marshals to justices and judges. Police and military personnel retire at age 56 while marshals can retire at 65,” Reyes explained.
The PJA official bared that the proposed body would also have investigative and possibly also prosecutorial powers to run specifically after perpetrators of attacks against judges and justices.
Meanwhile, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez admitted that security provided to judges nationwide “may be not enough.”
“Currently, there’s only one staff who can accompany a judge to and from work. They can also request for police escorts in case of death threats. But there are currently about 2,500 judges nationwide,” he said.
Marquez disclosed that about 30 judges had been killed in line of duty over the past 10 years—Pintac being the latest victim.
The SC official further bared that Pintac’s killing could be “work-related.”
“I talked to investigators and the widow and it appears that Judge Pintac’s death was really work-related,” he said.
The Philippine National Police has created a task force to investigate the latest killing of a judge.
The Supreme Court has called on the PNP to expedite its probe and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Pintac handled the drug cases against Parojinog siblings Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess and Reynaldo Jr. before they were transferred to Quezon City RTC earlier this year.
The slain judge had denied their request to attend the funeral of their parents and other family members who were killed in a raid conducted by police in July last year.