Palace: PH drop in global rule of law index ‘not based on reality’

The recent findings of an international organization stating that the rule of law in the Philippines has “deteriorated significantly” were “not based on reality,” Malacañang argued on Thursday, February 1.

In the newly released World Justice Project (WJP)’s 2017–2018 Rule of Law Index, the Philippines saw its biggest decline in the rankings after plummeting 18 spots down to 88 out of 113 countries surveyed.

“It was like a perception that was not based on reality,” Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said of the findings.

The Palace official, however, admitted that the criminal justice system in the country is “not perfect,” adding that the problems had persisted long before the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I’m not saying that our criminal justice system is perfect. It’s really weak and cases take too long to resolve. Victims of crime and human rights violations wait for a long time to get justice,” Roque said.

He continued, “That is something that I think is a reflection of the need to have further reforms in our justice system. But that has been there not just during the administration of the Duterte administration.”

But because Duterte “was a former fiscal and had shown political will,” Roque expressed belief that the justice system in the country would improve under his leadership.

In its report released Wednesday, January 31, WJP tagged the Philippines as this year’s “biggest mover.” From being 70th in the October 2016 index measuring adherence to rule of law, the Philippines now sank to 88 out of 113 countries surveyed.

The Philippines was also noted as among the worst rule of law offenders in the East Asia and Pacific region.

“The biggest mover in this year’s WJP Rule of Law Index was the Philippines, which fell 18 positions, now ranking 88th out of 113 countries overall and 13th out of 15 countries in the East Asia & Pacific region,” according to the report

WJP said it conducted surveys involving more than 110,000 households and 3,000 experts worldwide. Countries’ performance were rated based constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.

Results showed that the Philippines suffered a “statistically significant decline” in the following factors: constraints on government powers, fundamental rights, order and security, and criminal justice.

WJP added that there was also no “statistically significant improvement” in the Philippines across any of the eight factors.

The Philippines earned an overall score of 0.47, and was classified as a country with a “weaker adherence to the rule of law.”

On the other hand, the top three overall performers in the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index were Denmark (1), Norway (2), and Finland (3); while the bottom three were Afghanistan (111), Cambodia (112), and Venezuela (113).

WJP is a non-profit organization which describes itself as “an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide.”

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