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Justice chief seeks smooth turnover to incoming gov’t


OUTGOING Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Thursday met with his successor to ensure a seamless turnover of responsibilities at agency.

“This meeting is important to ensure a smooth transition of leadership and uninterrupted operations at the Department of Justice (DoJ),” he told reporters in a Viber message on Thursday.

He said he might meet with incoming Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla again for consultations.

Mr. Remulla earlier vowed to fast-track criminal cases by developing a digital database to keep track of the jail sentences of all prisoners.

He also vowed to abide by the Constitution when he assumes office amid worries from various human rights groups over his history of accusing individuals of being communists.

During the campaign period, he linked supporters of Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo to the Maoist movement.

Political experts have said activists might have a hard time defending themselves if Mr. Remulla became the Justice secretary.

“While he is a lawyer by training, he spent most of his time as a politician,” Maria Ela L. Atienza, who teaches political science at the University of the Philippines, said in Viber message. “It is important to monitor his performance as the Justice secretary.”

As Justice chief, the former congressman will become a member of the newest anti-terror law’s Anti-Terrorism Council. He will also head a committee that investigates the killings of activists and dissenters.

The DoJ has faced increasing pressure from domestic and international groups to prosecute more rogue cops.

The Philippine Human Rights Commission said the Duterte government had encouraged a culture of impunity by hindering independent inquiries and by failing to prosecute erring cops involved in the government’s deadly drug war. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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