MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III frowned at the claim made by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla that there is no culture of impunity in the Philippines.
Remulla made the claim before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last Nov. 14, while representing the Philippines for the body’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
Such claim is in contrast to what is really enveloping the Philippines, Pimentel said.
“There is a culture of impunity prevailing in our culture given the many unsolved crimes especially murders. Those unsolved violent crimes mostly involve the poor and the voiceless. Even non-political nature violent crimes, if left unsolved, contribute to this culture of impunity,” Pimentel, in a text statement, said.
“This is dangerous because the deterrent effect of our criminal laws and the entire justice system will lose its strength in our society and we don't want to degenerate into a chaotic and practically lawless society,” he added.
Remulla should not also use the government’s ongoing investigation of the Percy Lapid case, which is just one of the many killings in the country.
Pimentel maintained there is indeed a “culture of impunity” in the country.
“A culture is made up of thousands if not millions of practices. One successful solution to a violent crime does not change immediately the culture of impunity to a culture of accountability. But it may be the first step because as the saying goes: the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” he said.
Sen. Sonny Angara, for his part, recognized Remulla’s efforts in bringing reforms to the country despite a “highly imperfect justice system.”
“I believe we have a working albeit highly imperfect justice system. We support Secretary Remulla in his attempts to institute reforms in the country’s justice system. The system could move faster and be more inclusive and fair,” Angara said.