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DoJ trains fiscals and police to boost cases

THE PHILIPPINE Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday vowed to help bolster the capabilities of local law enforcement agencies to gather evidence and investigate crimes to increase convictions.

“What we’re trying to do is to increase our capacity-building programs for our law enforcement in order for us to perform our prosecutorial and investigative functions under a human rights lens,” Justice Undersecretary Hermogenes T. Andres told a symposium on criminal investigation training.

“We are duty bound to abide by international human rights protocols.”

DoJ earlier raised the standards for filing criminal cases, requiring state prosecutors to ensure cases lead to a “reasonable certainty of conviction” to ease jail congestion. The agency also halved the bail amount for poor Filipinos.

DoJ and police records showed that 80% of criminal cases are dismissed for lack of probable cause, DoJ spokesman Jose Dominic F. Clavano IV told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

“A lot of our countrymen have the attitude of thinking it is OK for them to commit crimes because of the gap between prosecutors and our law enforcers,” he added.

Mr. Andres cited a DoJ circular dated March 31 that ordered government prosecutors to take a more active role in the build-up of criminal cases by providing legal guidance to law enforcers investigating crimes.

The circular also required prosecutors to drop criminal complaints not supported by credible and sufficient evidence to help clear court dockets.

“While the roles of the police and prosecutors may differ, their purpose remains the same: to ensure a thorough investigation, proper case build-up and the gathering of correct evidence,” according to the speech of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla read by Undersecretary Raul T. Vasquez.

“Our united efforts lead us towards a fairer and more equitable society, one where justice is served with precision and integrity.”

The International Criminal Court in January reopened its probe of the Duterte government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, saying it was not satisfied with state efforts to probe human rights abuses.

The government estimates that at least 6,117 suspected drug dealers were killed in police operations. Human rights groups say as many as 30,000 suspects died. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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