The Supreme Court has been meeting with leaders of various government agencies, particularly the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies, in the investigation of the killings of judges and lawyers in the country.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez and other officials held several meetings with the DOJ, the Department of National Defense, the Department of Interior and Local Governments, the Commission on Human Rights, law enforcement agencies and lawyers’ organizations on the issue.
Citing the report of Marquez, Peralta said on Jan. 8 there was a meeting with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Philippine Bar Association and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers.
On Jan. 11, Marquez met with the DOJ and its agencies, the prosecutors’ league, and National Bureau of Investigation to address the killings.
The two meetings were followed up with representatives from the DND, DILG, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, Marquez said.
On Jan. 13, Peralta said he met with judges and other court officials.
According to Peralta, he had directed Marquez to submit a full report with measures to address the killings.
Reports showed that since 1999, more than 30 trial court judges had been killed and since 2016 a total of 54 lawyers had been slain.
The country’s lawyers, as officers of the court, are under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOJ will closely monitor cases concerning slain lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
Guevarra said the DOJ “will come up with an inventory of cases under investigation by the NBI, under preliminary investigation by the prosecution service, and undergoing trial in courts for the purpose of monitoring closely their progress.”
He said the monitoring of cases and other issues “such as providing greater protection to law practitioners, prosecutors and judges will be tackled in subsequent joint activities with the IBP.”
On the security and protection of the members of the judiciary and court personnel, Peralta reiterated his plea to Congress for the immediate passage of the bill creating the Philippine Judiciary Marshal Service to protect judiciary members who have been targets of violent crimes.
“We really need our Judiciary Marshal Service because the Supreme Court cannot give adequate security,” Peralta said.
“An attack on our judges is an assault on the Rule of Law. This has no place in a civilized society like ours,” Peralta said in his online meeting with journalists in October last year.
“We want a security marshal so we would have the power to investigate and file cases before the courts, and the investigation will be faster.”