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Philippine News Digest 36

September 18, 2002 · 

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Contents:

  • Forty-five percent of Philippine courts have no judges
  • Rallies mark historic ouster of US military bases 11 years ago
  • 4 more Filipino minors cry rape in Sabah jail

Forty-five percent of Philippine courts have no judges

An official of the Supreme Court disclosed that forty-five percent of Philippine courts have no judges and warned that this had serious implications in the implementation of justice. Statistics show that as of Aug. 22, only 1,577 out of 2,026 vacancies for prosecutor have been filled, leaving 449 vacancies. The Department of Justice last month issued an order deputizing police chiefs to prosecute criminal cases cognizable by the local courts. The secretary of justice explained that the order was based on the Rules of Criminal Procedures, which states that when a prosecutor is not available, any peace officer or public official charged with the enforcement of the law violated, may prosecute the case. Due to stiff opposition from lawyers and solons, the justice secretary agreed to suspend the implementation of his Memorandum Circular No. 40 issued on Aug. 20. The high rate of vacancy in the judiciary was attributed to the low pay and unattractive compensation package offered by the government. Source: Michael Lim Ubac, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 15 September 2002.

Rallies mark historic ouster of US military bases 11 years ago

Militant groups all over the country marked the 11th anniversary of the abrogation of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement with rallies denouncing the continued presence of the US military in different parts of the Philippines. In the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, site of the former US Naval Base, members of the Senate who made that crucial vote rejecting the extension of the treaty to another fifty years gather to unveil the Inang Laya monument which features each of their palm prints. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga warned the government that there must be a declaration of a state of war by Congress beofre the US military could use the country’s airspace. Protesters gathered in Manila, Davao, Cebu, Ilo-ilo and other major cities, waving streamers that said “No to Invasion of Iraq” in defiance to the President’s unabashed support for a US-led attack on Iraq. Source: Reports from the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Today.

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