Glimmers of hope: A report on the Philippine Criminal Justice System

There is a saying: "Justice delayed is justice denied." The perception of a continuing failure of the Philippine criminal justice system to deliver fast and efficient justice has inevitably led to the erosion of public trust in the government. As a consequence, citizens are laden with anxiety because of unabated criminality and violence in their communities. The type of justice that leads to peace and prosperity continues to be elusive in the Philippines as the worsening scenario of jail congestion continues to manifest its malevolent implications for the human rights of prisoners. It appears that the culprit is an overwhelmed machinery of criminal justice that has not been able to keep pace with growing rates of population, urbanization and criminality. There is also an apparent imbalance in the justice structure where there are too few judges, prosecutors and public defence attorneys to process the cases filed by the numerous law enforcers who file criminal cases. This leads to bottlenecks in criminal justice procedures and has resulted, in not a few instances, in human rights crises in jails. However, emerging developments give some hope to Filipinos.

About the author

Roy Panti Valenzuela
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)

Attorney Roy Panti Valenzuela is Jail Superintendent at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in the Philippines. He heads the BJMP’s paralegal programme, the objective of which is to decongest jails through the application of early release in the interest of maintaining humane conditions.