De Lima maintains PH justice system broken, recalls efforts to modernize criminal justice system

PHILIPPINES, June 15 – Press release
June 12, 2022

De Lima maintains PH justice system broken, recalls efforts to modernize criminal justice system

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima argued that the Philippine justice system is broken and that no amount of censorship by the courts or anyone else could change that fact.

In his presentation, “Modernizing Criminal Law by Updating Our Approach to Criminal Behavior: Taking the Path of Transformative Justice”, presented by his Assistant Chief of Staff, Atty Catherine Sy, at the Sixth Hispano-Filipino Scientific Congress held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Quezon City on June 10, De Lima said she believed none of the necessary and urgent criminal law reforms had been instituted due to people’s tendency to view the accused as “no longer being fully human and, therefore, no longer deserving of full respect for their humanity and their rights.”

“Our criminal justice system is broken not only in the ‘how’ but also in the ‘why’. If it was a person, the criminal justice system is not just broken in his body, he is broken in his spirit, I would go so far as to say that he lacks a soul.

“It’s moving, but never towards anything productive. It’s moving just so you can say it’s moving. A zombie in the legal world,” she said.

The event, titled “Sixth Spanish-Philippine Scientific Congress: Modernizing Criminal Law and Private Law”, brought together professors, scholars, members of the Philippine judiciary and experts from European and Philippine universities to share their knowledge. to modernize the country’s legal codes.

De Lima’s efforts to modernize the criminal justice system date back to 2011 when she, as Justice Secretary, created an interagency Criminal Code Committee (CCC) to study, assess and consolidate a simple, updated system and modern criminal law in order to clarify the application of the law and improve the administration of justice.

During his presentation, De Lima shared that modernizing the CPP was one of the DOJ’s top priority legislative agendas under his leadership to be approved in the Senate and House of Representatives. This was finally introduced on August 13, 2013 as House Bill 2300 in the House of Representatives during the 16th Congress by Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr.

Once elected senator, De Lima then introduced Senate Bill No. 1227 calling for the repeal of the CPR and proposed a measure that would replace it with a criminal code of the Philippines to make it responsive and relevant to the justice system. criminal justice of the country.

The said measure seeks to ordain and institute a new Criminal Code of the Philippines which would modernize, update and codify the fundamental criminal law of the country.

“When I became a senator, I had very, very high hopes that the foundations we had laid 5 years prior would evolve and come to fruition in the next six years, especially in light of the fact that I had initially been appointed president. of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee,” she said.

“I fully expected that my successor as chair of the Justice and Human Rights Committee would have given it due consideration. Unfortunately, we are both at the end of our terms as senators. , and the bill is as far from becoming law as it was when it was first introduced nearly nine years ago,” she added.

De Lima lamented how the series of legislative measures she introduced included efforts to update each of the different pillars of the criminal justice system, in particular the Criminal Investigations Bill, the modernization of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and comprehensive prison reform and Unified Jail System Bill, were also not priorities.

“None of my initiatives have been given the priority I thought they deserved, especially given the so-called ‘War on Drugs’, which has only worsened the odds for ordinary Filipinos who find themselves in conflict with the law. To say that I am utterly disappointed with the lack of progress in efforts to modernize our criminal law system is to understate the problem,” she said.

Senator de Bicol believes that the real first step to truly solving the problems of modernizing the country’s criminal law system is to “commit to seeing these real evils and wanting to solve them.”

De Lima further stated that her experience of being unjustly detained for the past five years has given her a rare perspective in history: “that of a lawyer and defender, turned victim, turned survivor, become a reformer.

“Having shown how the wheel of justice works from all possible sides, I can say that we need to approach criminal laws from a more curious perspective, that is, a perspective that seeks the anatomy of crimes beyond beyond finding the motive, instrumentality and timeliness of each particular incident,” she said.

“Instead, a question that starts with a fundamental and, in my opinion, game-changing question: what kind of society do we want to live in? And, from there, asking what should be done to bring us closer to this ambitious company,” she added.

Access the full text of Senator De Lima’s presentation at the “Sixth Spanish-Philippine Scientific Congress: Modernizing Criminal and Private Law” here: