PH ranking in global rule of law index sinks under Duterte

Carmela Fonbuena

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PH ranking in global rule of law index sinks under Duterte
The Philippines drops 18 slots to rank 88th out of 113 countries in the newly released World Justice Project Rule of Law Index

MANILA, Philippines – Rule of law in the Philippines deteriorated significantly since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power, according to the newly-released World Justice Project Rule of Law Index.

The Philippines dropped to rank 88th out of 113 countries or 18 places down from 70th in the 2016 index. It scored 0.47, a far cry from the 0.89 of top scorer Denmark.

“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. 

The worst offender, Venezuela, had a score of 0.29.

The latest study was conducted amid clashes with local armed groups linked with international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS), martial law in Mindanao, a crackdown on the political opposition, and Duterte’s brutal war on drugs that killed thousands of Filipinos.

The Philippines saw significant drops in 4 out of 8 criteria used in the study. It ranked 99th out of 113 countries in terms of adherence to fundamental rights (0.42), 107th in order and security (0.51), 102nd in criminal justice (0.31), and 59th in constraints on government powers (0.55).

The other factors are adherence to absence of corruption (62nd at 0.42), open government (54th at 0.52), regulatory enforcement (55th at 0.51), and civil justice (81st at 0.47).

WAR ON DRUGS. President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal war on drugs is responsible for thousands of deaths. File photo by Noel Celis/AFP

Nordic countries on top

Nordic countries in Europe – Denmark, Norway, and Finland– were the top 3 performers. Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Venezuela are the bottom 3. These rankings have not changed since the last index.

The rest in the top 10 best performers are Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, and Australia. The scores ranged from 0.89 for Denmark to 0.81 for Australia.

The study noted a “troubling trend” where more countries scored a decline (34%) than an improvement (29%) in overall rule law. It surveyed 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys. 

“We are witnessing a global deterioration in fundamental aspects of the rule of law,” said William Neukom, WJP founder and CEO.

The following countries also recorded the best numbers in their respective regions:

  • Denmark in Western Europe and North America, where most countries in the Top 10 belong
  • Ghana in Sub-Saharan Africa, replacing South Africa which topped the region in the 2016 index
  • New Zealand and Australia in East Asia and Pacific, where most countries like the Philippines experienced a decrease in overall rule of law
  • Georgia in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • Uruguay in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Nepal in South Asia

The numbers of the Philippines in the index also put it among the worst rule of law offenders in the region – 13th out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific – where more than two-thirds of countries experienced a decrease in overall rule of law score. 

In also ranked lowest in terms of order and security in the region. – 

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