Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has made significant progress in addressing the lack of qualified prosecutors and judges in the country.
Speaking at a newsman’s forum Wednesday, Guevarra said there are still a number of appointments already sent to Malacañang but conceded there may no longer be time for the Palace to act on the same.
“In the case of the DOJ, there are about 500 appointments na nai-submit na namin sa (which we submitted to) Malacañang. But due to lack of material time ay naiwan yung mga pending appointments na yun (pending appointments were left behind) for the Prosecution Service,” Guevarra said.
The justice chief, however, clarified that the Duterte administration notably had the most number of appointees of prosecutors, a key component of the President’s promise to address law and order.
“To the credit of the President during his time, pinakamaraming appointments ang nangyari sa National Prosecution Service. He appointed at least 1,700 new prosecutors kaya na-address yung aming kakulangan sa manpower especially doon sa mga remote provinces at tsaka doon sa mga areas na medyo scary so to speak kasi may peace and order problem (He had the most number of appointments in the National Prosecution Service (He appointed at least 1,700 new prosecutors to address our shortage of manpower, especially in remote provinces and areas which are scary because of peace and order problem),” he said.
Guevarra said the department is hopeful the incoming President would be able to complete the pending appointments. “So, may konti pa kaming kulang and we are hoping the incoming President would be able to complete yung natitira naming pending appointments (We still lack manpower and we are hoping the incoming President would be able to complete all our pending appointments),” he added.
As for the judiciary, Guevarra said the appointment of judges-at-large was also a welcome development for the country’s justice system.
“Sa judiciary, I think hindi na rin masyadong mabigat ang problema kasi they created this judges-at-large. Itong judges-at-large na ito can be deployed anywhere na kailangan ng action by judges na wala pang permanent assignment, wala pang permanently naka-assign (In the judiciary, it is no longer a significant problem because judges-at-large can be deployed without a permanent assignment),” he said. (PNA)