DOJ vows more reforms in PH justice system under PBBM gov’t

MORE reforms will be coming in the Philippine justice system under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., a Justice official said on Wednesday.

Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez said the signing of the Department of Justice – National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS) Rules on Criminal Investigation “is just the first step towards greater reforms in the administration of justice.”

President Marcos earlier led the signing ceremony of the DOJ-NPS rules in Malacañang, authorizing the DOJ to promulgate preliminary investigations.

The rules set by the DOJ-NPS aims to uphold due process, protect the rights of the accused, and facilitate the fair and efficient administration of justice in the Philippines.

“So, this is a new page, ladies and gentlemen, in administration of justice – the preliminary investigation,” Vasquez said in a press briefing.

“This is part of the continuing process to ensure that more reforms are forthcoming under the vision of our present administration, under the leadership of our president, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and with the guidance given to the Secretary of Justice, Secretary Jesus Crispin ‘Boying’ Remulla, and us as the officials who are implementing it,” he added.

The new rules institutionalize the executive and inquisitorial nature of preliminary investigations in line with legal precedents, and reinforce the DOJ’s authority in this domain.

The guidelines will also enhance existing prosecutorial functions of prosecuting counsels, empowering them to take a proactive role in the investigation of crimes and ensure efficient case build-ups.

With clearer rules in the conduct of preliminary investigations, fairness and due process will be ensured in handling of cases, especially those involving warrantless arrests.

The new rules will also set up a clear quantum of evidence — prima facie evidence with reasonable certainty of conviction, ensuring that only cases with a strong foundation will proceed to trial.

In addition, the use of the new preliminary investigation rules will streamline e-filing procedures and virtual preliminary investigation hearings to reduce delays and increase accessibility, especially in remote areas.

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