The chiefs of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) have backed the creation of a new armed marshals service to protect members of the judiciary, according to one of the proponents, Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel.
The heads of the two agencies conveyed their support for the passage of Pimentel’s House Bill 5403 in separate position papers submitted to the House committee on justice chaired by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso III.
“The PAO supports the proposition that the (Philippine) Marshals Service be established under the control and supervision of the Chief Justice,” said Deputy Chief Public Attorney Silvestre Mosing, speaking for Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta.
“A dedicated security force within the judiciary, and separate from the national police force, will aid in the effective and efficient dispensation of justice, free from unnecessary interference,” Mosing added.
Meanwhile, the PNP said it supports the installation of the marshals service, “in an effort to bolster the security and protection detail accorded to officers and employees of the country’s judiciary.”
“A person’s right to a just and speedy trial is indeed one of the most treasured of all constitutional rights. In a world of clogged court dockets and minimal court officers, the delay brought about by the wanton killing of such officers translates to an increment in the suffering of individuals going through the rigors of any court procedure,” said PNP Director-General Archie Gamboa.
Gamboa also did not raise any objections to the bill’s proposal to allow marshals to bear firearms, “so long as the acquisition and possession thereof are within the ambit of Republic Act No. 10591 (or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Law).”
Pimentel filed his bill seeking to create the Office of the Philippine Marshals Service under the Supreme Court last year, after the Nov. 5 assassination of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 25 Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez.
Bañez was 31st member of the judiciary killed while in active service since 1999.
Under Pimentel’s bill, the marshals service shall be headed by a director to be appointed by the Chief Justice.
The organizational structure, composition and the size of the service shall be determined by the director and the Chief Justice.
As proposed by Pimentel, every marshal shall be a bachelor’s degree holder, and shall be at least 21 years old but not older than 35.