Cause and Effects of the Slow Criminal Justice System of the Philippines

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University of Santo Tomas High School España, Manila

In partial fulfillment of the requirements in






is submitted by:





University of Santo Tomas High School España, Manila


NAME: Nabor, Dither John C.

SECTION: Saint Dionysius

DATE SUBMITTED: December 6, 2013


"Cause and Effects of the Slow Criminal Justice System of the Philippines"

CRITERIA: Substance (30) __________ Mechanics (20) __________ Documentation (20) __________ Organization (10) __________ Materials (20) __________ TOTAL: (100) __________

LIST OF MATERIALS (Kindly indicate your scores.)

Topic Proposals (30) 27

Bibliography Cards (30) 32

Notecards (60) 47

Research Outline (20) 14

Research Interview Report (40) 28

Actual Interview (40) 35

Chapter 1 (project paper) (20) 14

Chapter 2 (project paper) (20) 17

Chapter 3 (project paper) (20) 13



















The Criminal Justice System (CJS) determines the policies and procedures to be followed to give justice to everyone, particularly those who have committed crimes and has been filed with a formal complaint. The CJS of the Philippines is decided upon by various laws1 and is governed over by the Supreme Court. The process determines how a complaint will be filed, what will happen to it from the time it was filed until it reaches final decision from the judge/judges, who will carry the sentence, and how will the prosecuted return to his community2.

In every case entered in the CJS and has been forwarded to be arraigned in a court, there will always be a prosecuting panel and the defense panel. The prosecuting panel consists of the complainant/s, witness/es, and the prosecuting lawyer/s. The defense panel is composed of the defendant/s, witness/es, and the defense lawyers.

The CJS does not only include courts, lawyers, state prosecutors, and the judges, but also includes the police, correctional institutes, such as the National Bilibid Prison, and the community3. Each of these has their own role in the CJS and is vital to serving justice to the whole Filipino people.

1 Pablo Fegi Narag, Notes on the Philippine Criminal Justice System (Quezon City: Central Book Supply, Inc., 2008), 12-13

2 Oscar Gatchalian Soriano, The Philippine Criminal Justice System: Theories, Models

and Practices (Quezon City: Great Books Publishing, 2010), 11-15.

3 Alicia Gonzales-Decano, "Where Lies the Delay in the Criminal Justice System?",



This paper aims to:

1. analyze the current criminal justice system of the Philippines. 2. identify different laws that can affect our criminal justice system. 3. determine the causes of our slow justice system.

4. determine the effects of our slow justice system.


The proponent intends to answer the following:

1. What is the process of the current criminal justice system of the Philippines?

2. What are the 5 pillars of our criminal justice system?

3. What are the different laws that can affects our criminal justice system?

4. What are the causes of a slow justice system? 5. What are the effects of a slow justice system?




The researcher made use of analysis and cause and effects to develop this paper.

Analysis is separation of a thing into the parts or elements of which it is composed4. The every step in the process of the CJS was defined and explained for the understanding of the reader and the researcher and for the identification of the probable delays in the duration of the process.

The CJS has five stages. It was intended to guarantee the proper conviction and prevent exploitation of power by the authority. Most cases do not proceed from the preliminary review stage, however; convictions happen only to a small percentage of arrests. 5

Cause and effects is the identification of reasons for the problems and/or solutions found in a process or in the environment. This will help in determining the problems in the CJS, pointing out the effects of these problems and give proper and feasible recommendations.

Today, the CJS has been the subject of criticism and study due to the slow flow of the prosecution of violations. Whenever there is a commitment of crime, people expect speedy identification of culprit, speedy examination, speedy hearing, and speedy resolution.6

4 The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (New ed.). (2004). USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 5 Soriano, 9.

6 Alicia Gonzales-Decano, "Where Lies the Delay in the Criminal Justice System?",



Analysis of the process of the Criminal Justice System of the


Identification of Laws that Govern and affect the CJS

Discussion of Revised Penal Code

Causes of the Delays in

the CJS

Enumeration of the Delays in the CJS Effects of the Delays in the CJS Formulation of Recommendations


The first part of the paper is the Analysis of the process of the Criminal Justice System of the Philippines. Under this includes the definition of CJS, 5 Pillars of justice and the complete process and its underlying concepts. In this part, the CJS will be analyzed part by part for a clearer understanding of the process and its concepts.

The Rules of Court contains the criminal procedures, thus becoming the reference of the courts in criminal cases7. This will determine the process of the

The next part is the Identification of Laws that govern and affect the CJS. This part is important in the identification of possible delays in the process of the CJS. Aside from the constitution, various laws still govern over the CJS, and these laws may be source of delays to the CJS.

Under the Laws is the discussion of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. It is the main law that governs over the CJS, which includes the acts considered as crime and the lenght of penalties that can be imposed8.

The identification of the delays contains the probable delays the CJS process contains. After the identification of delays is the tracing of its cause and subsequent effects to the CJS. The presentation of recommendations of the author will follow afterwards.

7 Narag, 15-16




Definition of Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice System (CJS) determines the policies and procedures to be followed to give justice to everyone, particularly those who have committed crimes and has been filed with a formal complaint. The CJS of the Philippines is decided upon by various laws9 and is governed over by the Supreme Court. The process determines how a complaint will be filed, what will happen to it from the time it was filed until it reaches final decision from the judge/judges, who will carry the sentence, and how will the prosecuted return to his community10.

An idea of systematic criminal justice planning could serve as an avenue for the development of inter-agency coordination in the area of prevention and control of crime and delinquency. The Philippine CJS is the sum total of instrumentation which a society uses in the prevention and control of crime and juvenile delinquency. 11

The Philippine CJS have courts of different hierarchy. The first level trial courts are composed of the Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Circuit Trial Courts and the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. To be followed by the Courts of General Jurisdiction or the Regional Trial Courts. Then comes the Court of Appeals and ultimately the Supreme Court. There are also courts with special jurisdiction, particularly the Sandiganbayan for the Government Employees, the Court of Tax Appeals for the violations of the Internal Revenue Code and the Family Court for the criminal cases involving family members12


Five Pillars of Justice

According to Gonzales-Decano (2003, 2), the CJS is composed of the Five Pillars of Justice, namely community, police, prosecution, courts and correctional institutes.

The first pillar is the community. Everyone is part of this pillar, including the victim and the offender. The community enjoys the results of the whole CJS. This pillar is composed of the home/family, school, church, government, mass media, community agencies and the barangay officials13

The next pillar is the police or the law enforcement. This pillar is not only composed of the PNP, AFP, Phil. Navy and PAF, but also composed of the different government offices such as the different branches of the Executive branch14. The police pillar also receives private complaints. They can also collect sworn statements from the complainant and the witnesses, if the investigators are the police on duty. 15

The third pillar is the prosecution. This pillar includes the Fiscals and state prosecutors of the DOJ. They are tasked to primarily uphold the rules of law as part of the CJS. They carry out the preliminary investigation in search for probable cause.16

The fourth pillar of the CJS is the court. This pillar orders the warrants, schedules the arraignment, carries out the trials, investigate the case and decide on the sentence.17

The last pillar is the correctional institutions. Their primary purpose is to carry out the sentence determined by the court. This includes the National Bilibid Prison, which is the largest correctional institute in our country.

13 Soriano, 110. 14 Tradio, 8. 15 Decano, 2-5. 16 Soriano, 45,51. 17 Narag, 43.



In an interview with Atty. Ortiguerra (2013), she described the process of the CJS as started from the case filing until it reaches a final decision, either from the Regional Trial Courts (RTC)/Metropolitan Trial Courts (MTC) or the Supreme Court.

Depending on the case, a complaint may not start from police but rather be filed directly to the Fiscal's Office/Prosecutor's Office. Its primary job is to carry out a preliminary investigation to find if there's a probable cause on the case. If there is, the case will be forwarded to the RTC/MTC to have an assigned judge and have the initial arraignment scheduled, otherwise, the case will be dismissed already.

In the arraignment, or the initial appearance, the accused is given the chance to plead if he is guilty or not. If the case is can be mediated, the case will proceed to the court-assisted mediation, else, the case will proceed directly to the trials.

Prior to the actual trial, lawyers of both parties are required to submit and exchange the affidavits of both parties' witnesses. Its purpose is to prepare both parties and ensure the progress of the case during the actual trial.

After the trials, the judge will have to release a decision and the sentence, if the accused is found guilty. If the decision is guilty, the defendant may file an appeal on the decision; however, if the decision is not guilty, the victim cannot file an appeal, as it will be a violation of the constitutional of the defendant, particularly it will count as double jeopardy.

The appeal will have to go the same process stated all over again, with no exemption of having it appealed at the Court of Appeals or ultimately the Supreme Court.


Laws That Affect the Criminal Justice System

The main law that affects the CJS is the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Stated here are the basic setup of our justice system and the Bill of Rights that includes the basic rights of every Filipino.

Aside from the Philippine Constitution, the Revised Penal Code also affects our CJS. Stated here are the actions that are considered as crime, the basis of the sentence to the persecuted, and the kind of sentence that can be carried out.

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 also affect the CJS. This law provides protection to those offenders who are below of legal age. It is stated the age of criminal liability and the lighter sentence that can be imposed to him. This also contains special procedures in handling these special types of cases. 18

18 Narag, 100-109.



PROPOSITION 1: The CJS is composed of five pillars, namely the

Community, Police, Prosecution, Courts and the Correctional Institutions.

EXPLANATION: These five pillars comprise the whole CJS. Each of these

pillars is vital to giving justice to every Filipino. One pillar is as important as the other four.

PROPOSITION 2: The Five Pillars of our CJS determines the whole process

of our justice system.

EXPLANATION: Starting with the Community Pillar and ending with it, our

CJS is a cycle. Going through every pillar will guide a case to the whole process.

PROPOSITION 3: The laziness and slow response of the police contributes

to the slowdown of our CJS.

EXPLANATION: These simple factors already become the start of the delays

in our CJS. Slow response could be vital, not only in the life of the victim, but also for the immediate gathering of necessary evidences. Having all possible evidences could lead to the immediate determination of suspect, and getting fast serving of justice.

PROPOSITION 4: There is can be a mediation before arraignments,

depending on the case.

EXPLANATION: A mediation may happen depending on the case. Its

purpose is to try to solve the issue between both parties, without having arraignments. This will help both parties to lessen the needed funding for the case, and will help to lessen the cases raised to the courts to be trialed.


PROPOSITION 5: Lawyers of either party may request for movement of a

trial for whatever reason may happen, such as unavailability of witness/es because of personal matters.

EXPLANATION: After the pre-trial, the court gives 3 initial trial dates, with 2

months intervals. If, for any reason, the lawyer or the witness/es are unavailable, the lawyers may request for movement of trial. This causes another delay in our CJS, as the next trial will be filed after about 2 months again.

PROPOSITION 6: Each party involved must submit Judicial Affidavit/s at

least three days before an arraignment.

EXPLANATION: The Judicial Affidavit contains the witnesses' testimonies. It

will help both parties prepare for the arraignment. It will also ensure that the witnesses will be present during the arraignment. This will help in speeding up the cases because both parties are already prepared once they meet in court.

PROPOSITION 7: The defense may file a Demure of Evidence within the

duration of a case.

EXPLANATION: A Demure of Evidence means that the defense believes that

the evidences presented in court cannot prove the involvement of the

defendant in the crime. If this is filed, the trials will be suspended until this is solved. The effect of this depends on its outcome, if the judge approves this petition, the case is dismissed immediately, otherwise, it becomes a delay and the trial continues.

PROPOSITION 8: The judge may require both parties to submit a

memorandum after the trials.

EXPLANATION: This memorandum is a summary of all things presented in

court. It will help the judge remember all evidences presented in the trials, and will help in speeding up the decision-making.


PROPOSITION 9: After all the trials, the judge must release a judgment

within 30 days.

EXPLANATION: This mandate ensures that all cases will be decided after all

the trials. The time period ensures that no further delay may happen. This will also prevent the stacking up of unsolved cases and ensure the continues flow of our CJS.

PROPOSITION 10: The cross-examination of a witness may happen on the

next arraignment.

EXPLANATION: This causes another delay, as it will add up to the things

needed to be done on the next trial day.

PROPOSITION 11: Depending on the maximum years in prison, prisoners

waiting for conviction will be released if they reached the maximum number of years in prison, in their case, under certain circumstances.

EXPLANATION: This does not only protect the innocent, but also speed up

the CJS by reducing the cases in line for conviction.

PROPOSITION 12: If the accused is acquitted, the complainant could not

appeal the case.

EXPLANATION: If the accused is acquitted, the complainant cannot appeal

the case as it counts as double jeopardy. It will be a violation if his

constitutional rights. This will also lessen the cases appealed and will help to speed up the cases appealed already.

PROPOSITION 13: Our Constitution greatly affects our CJS.

EXPLANATION: According to Narag (2008, 12-13), There are constitutional


PROPOSITION 14: The Supreme Court is adding constantly amending our

CJS to remove the delays in the system.

EXPLANATION: In an interview with Atty. Ortiguerra, she mentioned that

recently, lawyers are required to submit the affidavits of both parties involved at least 2 days before the scheduled trial. This will help the lawyers in the preparations and will ensure of the attendance of the witnesses of both

parties. In the event that the witnesses are not present on the actual trial, they will not cause delay as their affidavits were already submitted, thus, it will stand as their statement. This is a proof that the government is aware of our slow CJS, and is making necessary revisions to speed it up.

PROPOSITION 15: The delay in our CJS can be found in all of its Five


EXPLANATION: As a system, the pillars of our CJS in linked to one another,

thus, a delay in one of the pillars will have an effect in the other pillars as well.

PROPOSITION 16: A delay in a part of our CJS will have a domino effect in

the succeeding parts as well.

EXPLANATION: A simple delay in one part of our CJS will definitely cause a

delay in the succeeding parts as well. According to Gonzales-Decano (2003), the cooperation between the five pillars is a must. In this manner, there will be a collaborative effort between the pillars in solving a criminal case.

PROPOSITION 17: There are delays caused by court-related agencies. EXPLANATION: These problems, such as tardiness of staffs and judges,


PROPOSITION 18: Another cause of the delays in the CJS is the filing of

various motions.

EXPLANATION: There are lots of motions, like Motion for Reconsideration,

which can be filed when a case is at the Prosecution Pillar until the Court Pillar. Whenever a motion is filed, the trial or investigation on the actual case is temporarily suspended to solve the motions first. This is another cause of delay because motions are time consuming, and are sometimes used as delaying tactics by lawyers.

PROPOSITION 19: The delayed CJS has a great effect in the safety of the


EXPLANATION: Having poor CJS allows criminals to continue do their illegal

actions and put the lives of the people in the Philippines in danger.

PROPOSITION 20: Another effect of our slow CJS is the downfall of the trust

of the public to the government.

EXPLANATION: Because of the slow CJS, the Filipinos have no trust in the

government to serve justice to all.




The main causes of the delays in the CJS include prolonging of filing of cases, negligence of duties by the persons in authority and the filing of motions by the parties involved. The 5 pillars of the CJS, namely the Police, Prosecution, Courts, Correctional Institutions and the Community, all have a contribution to the delays. The lawyer's delaying tactics on a case have a great impact on the CJS

Because of the delays, there is a domino effect on our CJS. Because of the delay in a case, there will be a delay that will happen in the succeeding cases filed in a court's jurisdiction. Another effect is the increasing danger in our society because of the presence of suspects still un-arrested and still committing crimes in our society.


After a diligent research, the proponent recommends that:

1. There should be a better cooperation among the five pillars of the CJS. 2. The people involved in our CJS should be more aware of the

responsibilities and how their actions affect these responsibilities.

3. The Supreme Court, together with the Department of Justice and Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines, review the whole CJS and implement revisions and new court rulings to speed up the current CJS.

4. Allow court hearings in the afternoon and prioritize the old cases filed already to lessen the congestion in our correctional institutes.




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