Senate bill seeking creation of judiciary marshals passes second reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The Senate on Tuesday approved on second reading a bill which aims to ensure the safety of members of the judiciary and their families by creating a new security force under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

If passed into law, Senate Bill No. 1947 would mandate the establishment of the Office of the Judiciary Marshals seen to help counter the continuing attacks on judges, lawyers, and other court personnel.

Besides providing security, the judiciary marshals will be tasked to conduct threat assessments and launch investigations on crimes and other offenses committed against judiciary employees and court property. They may also undertake probes on allegations of irregularities, including graft and corruption, committed by members of the legal profession.

Additionally, they may be asked to perform other related functions as the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, or the Court Administrator may instruct.

The proposed office would be headed by a Chief Marshal, who shall be appointed by the high court and assisted by three deputy marshals to be assigned in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

An initial funding of ₱50 million would be needed for the enactment of the measure, the bill stated. This would cover, among others, the salaries and other expenses of personnel, as well as the purchase of necessary supplies and equipment.

Over 60 lawyers nationwide have been killed under the Duterte administration, according to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. In an earlier statement, the group said this number shows an increase of "as much as 500%" compared to previous governments.