DOJ creates teams to address 14,000-case backlog

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) formed teams of undersecretaries and prosecutors in a bid to address its case backlog reaching more than 14,000 – mostly accumulated even before the Duterte administration.

According to Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay, 10,000 pending petitions for review were left unresolved from previous administrations.

At least 4,000 cases, meanwhile, have accumulated since President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office in June 2016.

The teams, each comprised of an undersecretary and 5 prosecutors, will be given a week to review 100 petitions. Establishing different teams each week gives them time to rest to prevent burnout.

"We are addressing the really old petitions and we have been conducting writeshops," Sugay said. "What we have been trying to do is house our prosecutors in certain places so we could resolve these petitions."

According to Sugay, one team that underwent pilot testing was able to resolve 70 petitions. They are expected to release resolutions within August.

"We just want to make sure that at the very least, we would just want to bring it down to a very manageable level so when it is our time to go, to turn it over [to the next administration], the volume of the pending petitions for review would not be that big," he said. –