CAR prosecution office pushed

THE House Committee on Justice approved Thursday a resolution authored by Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. for the creation of Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Baguio City.

House Resolution 766 authored by Aliping urges the Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish a Regional Prosecutor’s Office for the Cordillera in the city.

DOJ representative lawyer Feliciano Aspi, who was present during the committee hearing, said the creation of a regional prosecution office in the region is pursuant to the law.

Aspi added there must be a regional office of all government agencies in every region.

Committee chairman Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said members of the justice committee present in the hearing also wanted to be co-authors of the resolution.

Aliping also reiterated the importance of a regional Court of Appeals (CA), stressing cases will not have to be transmitted to CA-Manila anymore.

"This will serve as the first judicial region and even the 2nd judicial region so instead of going down to Manila to file our pleadings, especially in cases that need the attention of the Court of Appeals, it can now be filed in Baguio or the region," Aliping said.

“The regional office of the court of appeals will be best situated in the City of Baguio in as much as we have the Court of Appeals building and there are cottages of the justices,” he added.

The establishment of the office is also for equal distribution of offices all throughout the country, Aliping said. The CA has stations in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.

Also deliberated during the hearing were Tupas' two bills (House Bill 2300 and 2032) on the proposed amendments to the decades-old Revised Penal Code and the Criminal Investigation System.

Aliping also co-authored both measures.

House Bill 2300 seeks to review the outdated penal code particularly on the shift of the burden of preliminary investigation from the fiscal to the court. This allows cases that state prosecutors see merit with prima facie evidence to be automatically filed in court. Then the court decides within 15 days to conduct a preliminary investigation.

HB 2300 seeks to institute changes to Book I of the RPC, which is widely viewed as outdated and archaic.

It also aims to repeal the RPC and replace it with the proposed Code of Crimes to make the law responsive to present times.

“Dramatic changes in the nature and types of crime (are the main reason for the) urgent need to craft a truly organic Filipino criminal code attuned to our values and norms,” Tupas said.

The Iloilo lawmaker said “enhancing and improving the process of conducting criminal investigations will result in more effective and efficient prosecution of criminal cases."

"Improved evidence-gathering and case build-up generates air-tight cases that are filed in court, which have a high probability of securing convictions.The elimination of bureaucratic layers and opportunities by parties to avail of dilatoryremedies will make the conduct of criminal investigations more simple, speedy and efficient, to the benefit of the entire criminal justice system,” he added.


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