MANILA — Malacañang said on Tuesday it would "exert greater efforts" to uphold rule of law, after Philippines registered a dismal performance in this aspect in a global index.
The Philippines last week placed 102nd out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index 2021, down from 91st place in 2020.
"We are going to exert greater efforts to uphold and promote the rule of law in the country," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, quoting Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
But Roque also noted that Guevarra's stance that "except for a few sensational cases," the crime rate in the country has gone down.
Government, he added, responds to alleged abuses under President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics drive.
Roque, a lawyer, added that the executive branch of government is in charge of only 2 of 5 pillars of the rule of law, namely the police and detention facilities.
"Kinakailangan po magsama-sama ‘yung iba’t ibang mga pillars," he said in a press briefing.
"Kinakailangan ang Hudikatura bilisan ang proseso at kinakailangan din na ang civil society magmatyag pa rin ‘no at talagang gamitin ang proseso para lahat noong lalabag ay maparusahan po kung kinakailangan," added the Palace official.
(The various pillars need to unite. The judiciary needs to fast-track its processes and civil society needs to be vigilant and use the process so that all those who would violate laws would be punished, if necessary.)
Human rights groups have repeatedly condemned the Duterte administration for its supposed failure to hold erring law enforcers accountable.
Duterte, in many of his speeches, even told law enforcers to use violence when their lives are in danger.
Swept to power in 2016, Duterte launched his centerpiece anti-narcotics drive that saw thousands of drug suspects killed.
He had promised to protect the police and military involved in the deadly campaign and would not allow anyone to go to jail.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte also ordered state forces to shoot quarantine violators dead.