Proof of deterioration of our justice system
Sen. Leila de Lima celebrated her 61st birthday two days ago, with a night of songs and encomiums from stars of the political (those who dared) and entertainment worlds, as well as people from all walks of life. In “LeiLaya,” they were one in saluting her for her integrity, her principles, and her fight to speak truth to power. I, too, salute you, Senator Leila.
Pity, she was not there to enjoy the evening with her friends and admirers. She is not allowed any kind of computer, cell phone, iPad, anything which can connect her to the internet, even though she is “merely” under detention. This is her fourth birthday in detention—treated like a criminal rather than a senator who dared to cross the President of the Philippines when he was mayor of Davao.
Who but the most malicious, evil, and vengeful of characters actually think that Leila de Lima was in the drug trade? All one has to do is to look at her record as an election lawyer, as a human rights advocate, and as justice secretary. Not one iota of evidence has been found. It has only been made up, using convicted felons serving life sentences who would do anything to make their lives in prison more comfortable.
The unkindest cut of all, as far as I am concerned, is that her colleagues in the Senate, with the exception of the opposition—four out of 24, because all the others have aligned themselves with the President—have turned their backs on her. They turned down her simple and logical request to join Senate deliberations from her cell—you notice all the Zoom hearings in the legislature where personalities join from their homes. There is no legal or judicial impediment to granting this request. I cannot help feeling that the senators are afraid that her participation not only will displease the President, but will also show some of them up for the shallowness of their thinking.
She is the exemplar of the victims of Rule BY Law in this country, which is the Rule OF Law stripped of its values and the checks and balances that ensure a proper justice system. The most important of these is that the ROL “requires of us that we remove the will of public officials as much as possible from the administration of justice in society.” That obviously hasn’t happened. Thus the Rule of Law in this country has lost its spirit, and has degenerated into just its letter.
You think these are the rantings of an anti-Dutertard, or a Yellowtard, Reader? No. There is basis for saying that the rule of law and justice have deteriorated in this country. And proof of this is given by the government itself, in its StatDev, which is short for Statistical Indicators on Philippine Development. Started in 2005, StatDev comes out yearly in the Philippine Statistics Authority’s website, to monitor each administration’s progress toward achieving the targets and goals they have set out in their Philippine Development Plans (PDP).
Here is what the StatDev 2019 says about the following outcome indicators on Swift and Fair Administration of Justice in PDP 2017, aimed to improve its percentile rank in the World Bank’s World Governance Indicators (WGI) Rule of Law from 42.31 in 2015, to 50 in 2022. Reader, instead of improving, the StatDev reports a deterioration. Its percentile rank fell to 39.42 in 2016, 37.02 in 2017, and 34.13 in 2018.
It also aimed to improve its percentile rank in the World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law Index: Fundamental Rights, from its baseline of 26.55 in 2015 to 29 in 2022. Again, the StatDev reports a deterioration: 12.38 in 2017, 12.38 in 2018, and 16.62 in 2019.
Still another failed indicator is our Percentile Rank in the WJP’s Rule of Law Index: Civil Justice. Our baseline in 2015 was 23.01, and the President’s PDP targeted 27 by 2022. What happened? Look at the indicators: 28.36 in 2017, 28.32 in 2018, then 21.43 in 2019.
Finally, on Criminal Justice. The target was to improve our percentile rank in the WJP’s Rule of Law Index: Criminal justice from 25.66 in 2015 to 29 in 2022. Failure again, because our ranking fell to 9.73 in 2017 and 2018, and then to 10.32 in 2019.
This is all from StatDev, Reader. It tells us that we have deteriorated, rather than improved, in the swift and fair administration of justice. It is what it is.