Taking stock before taking steps.

It’s almost seven in the evening. I am still at the office reviewing posts in facebook and what has happened today. We met with the Senior State Prosecutors, all ladies and very competent and committed in their jobs. We were traditionally from opposite side of the fence, instead of cooperation, the norm was turfing and neutrality and impartiality on the part of the prosecution. One of my group said that there is one prosecutor who gained the notoriety of “for further investigation” in all cases submitted for preliminary investigation. Others are not preparing resolutions but writing margin notes “for filing”, or other actions.

The interaction today by the two groups brought about a change in perspective. Each group understood the predicament of the other and from opposing parties, they have agreed to change mind set and work together. I realize how a dialogue can be really of help and change the wrong perceptions of two “opposing camps”. We are now working on areas of collaboration and helping each other on establishing a common point of reference regarding requirements for filing of cases such as documents, evidence and other things vital to make a strong case in court.

The Asian Development Bank program on Governance in the Justice Sector has made possible this dialogue. This was started in 2005 by the Supreme Court PMO under the APJR which didn’t materialize due to opposition from the Prosecutors. Under the P-Noy presidency, we are positive that things will change for the better. From 16% conviction rate, we are targetting 75%.

The foundation for this cooperation has been laid down and data to show that 50% of the Prosecutors approved of  and we shall work on this figure to gain support of the majority. It was nice to know that prosecutors are like law enforcers who are working beyond office hours and beyond the resources provided and that they are also following orders (legal) even if they are complaining.

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