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Remulla assures EU Parliament delegates: ‘Reforms in place for PH’s justice system’

The Philippine government assured the European Union (EU) that the country is implementing reforms in the justice system.

DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla 

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla conveyed the assurance during his meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23, with the delegation of the European Parliament (EP) Subcommittee on Human Rights’ (DROI).

“Mahaba yung naging usapan namin (Our discussion was lengthy),” Remulla recounted.

“Ang karamihan nito about judicial reform, corrections reform, reforms on prosecution, reforms on bail (The discussions consisted mostly about judicial reform, corrections reform, prosecution reforms, reforms on bail),” he said.

Remulla said that the EU Parliament delegation seemed surprised about the improvements being done in the Philippines and no one engaged in any kind of argument.

“Na-affirm lang sa kanila ‘yung ating ginagawa para sa ating judicial system, sa ating justice system, ay nakakatulong talaga sa karapatang pantao (It was affirmed to them that what we are doing in the justice system helps in human rights),” he said.

The EU delegates were composed of EP members, namely, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Karsten Lucke, Hannah Neumann, Ryszard Czarnecki, and Miguel Urgan.

Other delegation members include representatives of political groups in EP, namely, Anna Ksiazczakova, Raphael Fisera, Federico Martegani, Jo Anna Rejdych, and Ana Vicente Moreno.

On the case of detained former senator Leila M. De Lima, Remulla said he told the delegation that she may be provisionally released of if she files a petition seeking the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus which is a legal remedy against arbitrary detention.

“We will not oppose it,” he reiterated.

Remulla explained to the delegation that De Lima had already sought bail before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) where she is facing drug charges for her alleged involvement in the proliferation of the narcotics trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

“Na-dismiss na yung dating bail petition (Her bail petition got dismissed),” he said.

“We’re hoping na matapos na yan (it be finished). We just want to end things properly,” he stressed.

The possibility of De Lima filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus arose after the Supreme Court (SC) granted lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes her petition to be issued a writ of habeas corpus.

Reyes, the former chief of staff and co-accused of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in his plunder case before the Sandiganbayan, was released last month after having been detained since 2014.

“Kaya lang, syempre, kasi nga yung kaso nga ni Gigi Reyes almost nine years, kay Leila— Leila has been there for six years (But of course the case of Reyes has been pending for nine years, while De Lima’s case has been six years),” Remulla pointed out.

De Lima has been detained since Feb. 24, 2017 after the RTC issued warrants for her arrest.

On the probe by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on illegal drugs operations, Remulla said he told the EU delegation: “Ang sabi ko lang doon inaayos na rin namin ang sistema (I told them that we are fixing the system).”

“Kung may problema talaga ang ICC na gusto nila imbestigahan dito, ibigay na lang sa amin, kami na gagawa (If the ICC wants to do an investigation in the Philippines, it should just let the Philippine government do it),” he pointed out.

He said he emphasized that “these are crimes committed in the Philippines by Filipinos.”

He added that the ICC issue was briefly discussed.

In a press briefer, the DOJ said that “the EP DROI Subcommittee visits several countries in a year using their own budget as part of the Subcommittee’s core work.”

It said its visit in the Philippines was made “in the context of the open and regular engagement on human rights between the Philippines and the EU, and the shared aim to further engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights, including ion the framework of the EU GOJUST (Governance in Justice) Program which supports and complements important reforms in the country’s justice sector.”

Aside from the DOJ, the dialogue that was held at the department’s main office in Manila was also attended by representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Philippine Women Commission (PCW), Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA), Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRCS), Philippine National Police (PNP), Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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