Palace working to close gaps in prosecutor vacancies: DOJ

MANILA Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said MalacaAang is working to close the gap in the vacancy of prosecutors handling criminal cases, especially in far-flung provinces.

"I think the pending vacancies, (there are) hundreds, maybe around 600. We're talking about hundreds, but slowly, the President's office is trying to catch up and we have been constantly following up this matter about the lack of prosecutors, so in fairness, slowly in batches, (they are releasing) appointments. (As I was told last night), a batch of 50 new appointees will be released, maybe the latest is next week," Guevarra told reporters.

Newly-appointed Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento who brings into the post 25 years of private practice of law says he is hoping to address the service aspect of the prosecution.

"I have noticed how personnel working for prosecutors and prosecutors themselves are unsmiling and unwelcome," he said.

Citing the workload of prosecutors, Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said there are those who handle more than 1,000 complaints, "especially with regard to when we talk about the NCR (National Capital Region) prosecution offices".

The heaviest case loads are handled by prosecutors from Mandaluyong, Manila, and Quezon City.

Likewise in Caloocan City, prosecutors handle at least 800 to about a thousand on the average per prosecutor at any given time, Sugay said.

The DOJ said the ideal would be to limit the caseload to less than 500 to allow prosecutors to attend to their other duties such as attending hearings.

DOJ officials explained that cases appealed to the Office of the Secretary through petitions of review range from 12,000 to 14,000.

"We call some of them pre-Duterte (before the Duterte administration), the pre-2016. We are talking about anywhere from 10,000 to 11,000 ang inabot na namin dito (the cases that we saw) and then add another 2,000 to 3,000 petitions filed after June 30, 2016. Also petitions to come in on a regular basis, continue to be raffled. So we're taking measures to ensure that all of these petitions are resolved or addressed properly," Sugay said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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