DILG to leftist groups: Respect independence of the judiciary
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año warned leftist groups “not to intimidate judges nor intervene with their judicial mandate” following their widely publicized threat to file raps against judges who issued search warrants on their offices in the past weeks.
“Please do not harass our judges and insult their wisdom to decide on the necessity of issuing a search warrant,” says Año.
The DILG Secretary says judicial independence must be respected. "Judges should be free from the improper influence of other sectors and even other branches of government in exercising their mandate," he says.
“Let us allow them to do their jobs without fear of harassment or intimidation. Each branch of the government has its own duty and it is the job of the judiciary to assess the facts and circumstances surrounding the request for a search warrant and issue the corresponding order if deemed necessary,” he points out.
“In the same manner, it is the job of law enforcers to protect the citizens and the State from those who instigate the people to bear arms against the government,” he says.
Año issued the statement after Bayan Muna party-list slammed some Regional Trial Court judges for issuing search warrants that allowed raids on the offices of Bayan Muna, Gabriela, and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) in Bacolod, Negros Occidental and other parts of the country.
According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Chairperson Neri Colmenares, the judges who issued the search orders should be held liable because their actions allegedly led to violations of certain rights.
Año explains that before a judge can issue a search warrant, he or she has to follow certain procedures such as determining the existence of probable cause and conducting the required searching and extensive questions. If probable cause is determined, a judge issues the search warrant and requires the police or military personnel to report to the court within 10 days from receipt.
“Issuing a search order is not done out of the judges’ whim and caprices. As lawyers and officers of the court, they should be the first to respect the acts of the court,” he says.
To help protect the judiciary, the DILG is supporting the creation of an independent armed unit patterned after the United States Marshall Service to secure the judiciary.
Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya says that the proposal of Chief Justice Peralta is timely as it will help protect judges and the 2,600 courts in the country.
“We have to maintain the independence of the judiciary and one way is to protect them from harassment, intimidation, and violence. A Marshall Service exclusive to the judiciary is urgent and needed at this time,” Malaya says.