A lawyers’ group has expressed its distress and embarrassment over the country’s low ranking in the World Justice Project’s (WJP’s) 2021 Rule of Law Index.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) through its President Edre U. Olalia said:
“It is distressing and embarrassing that the Philippines again found itself in a cellar performance in another international monitoring of important gauges of governance like issues of pandemic response, corruption, peace and order, and now ‘rule of law.'”
It said “the result, which is based on both experience and perception, is a wakeup call and also a sad commentary on the state of rule of law in our country.”
NUPL reacted to the WJP’s report which ranked the Philippines 102nd out of 139 countries worldwide in complying with rule of law.
It said that “the fact that the Philippines failed most in fundamental rights and criminal justice system in the global index means that there is something terribly wrong.”
It pointed out that the report “does not give any comfort in the public’s confidence in the justice system.”
It said the report “controverts official government claims and rhetoric that we have a ‘robust’ and working legal and justice system and its wonderful claims on protection, respect, and promotion of human rights.”
“That the slippery downslide in ranking was pronounced starting from the assumption to office of President Duterte to date is a reflection of the pits we find ourselves in, where the premium is on ’order and security’ from the lens of the State. This is as if the primacy of human rights does not in fact essentially guarantee real peace, order, and security for the people in the end,” it stressed.
NUPL pledged to cooperate in improving the rule of the law in the country.
“We will continue contributing as lawyers to push for legal and judicial reforms while pushing back against continuing assaults and corrosive measures by the political branches on basic rights and freedoms. We shall also be on the lookout on the platforms of candidates in the coming elections in this regard and urge them to present clear and concrete positions on these paramount issues,” it said.