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Senator Gatchalian calls for judicial reforms to strengthen anti-illegal drugs campaign

Inmates warm up at the holding area of Valenzuela City Jail for their classes thru the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the government in this February 2011 file photo. Gatchalian is calling for institutional reforms and greater budget support to strengthen President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. (Photo by Mark Cayabyab)

Senator Win Gatchalian called on President Rodrigo Duterte to work with the judiciary on implementing reforms which will strengthen the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign through the speedy disposition of drug-related cases.

The first priority, according to Gatchalian, should be ensuring that the judiciary receives the budget appropriations needed to hire personnel and funds judicial operations at all levels.

The judiciary had asked for P40.4 billion for 2017 budget, but only P32.5 billion has been allocated – a 19.5 percent shortfall.

“We cannot win the War on Drugs unless the judiciary is equipped with the resources it needs to efficiently bring drug offenders to justice. Appropriating more public funds to the judiciary will help the scales of justice work more smoothly,” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian also called on the judiciary, led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, to institute internal reforms which will speed up the hearing of drug cases, such as the creation of new dangerous drug courts and the promulgation of more efficient trial procedures.

“The executive and judicial branches of government must work hand-in-hand to ensure victory in the War on Drugs. After all, while it is up to the executive branch to catch the bad guys, ultimately it is the judiciary which will make sure that the bad guys will be convicted and put behind bars,” said Gatchalian.