By Raymund Antonio
He would rather just let his record speak for itself.
This was the position taken by Otso Diretso candidate Chel Diokno when he was asked about President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that he had done nothing for the country during a recent townhall meeting held in Pasig City.
Responding to the question, Diokno, a human rights lawyer, said his track record will bear him out.
“Kahit sinong nakakaalam sa atin, o magtanong lang kayo sa mga ibang abogado, alam nila yung aking track record,” the opposition bet said.
“At maraming naman akong natulungang mga nangangailangan, marami rin akong nagawang mga precedent sa ating Korte Suprema, iyong kaso ng Amparo, iyong iba’t ibang mga kasong nahawakan ko na sabihin na lang natin ay nakatulong sa marami,” he added.
Instead of engaging in a verbal tussle, Diokno even thanked Duterte because he has been giving him “free airtime” during the campaign period.
“Nagpapasalamat nga ako parati kay Pangulo eh na kinakampanya niya ako at binibigyan niya ako ng libreng airtime, dahil alam naman natin dehadong-dehado tayo pagdating sa pagbibili ng TV ads, pagdating sa paramihan ng tarp,” he said.
During the townhall meeting for lawyer-senatoriables, themed The Legal and Justice System: Is it Broken?”, Diokno outlined his plans to reform the country’s justice system and electoral process once elected in the Senate.
The event was organized by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Philippine Bar Association, and the Association of Law Students of the Philippines.
“I think one of the biggest problems the judiciary is facing is the vacancies among trial court judges. I understand there is about 20 percent vacancies in the trial court level. Hindi po natin maa-address yung sobrang bagal na paglilitis ng kaso hangga’t ganoon karami ang bakante na puwesto,” he said.
“Meron din po tayong problema sa prosecution service. Ang pagkalaam ko ay 33 percent ng mga puwesto sa National Prosecution Service ay bakante rin,” Diokno added.
“Second, I believe that the process of appointing judges is highly politicized. There has to be transparency and accountability in the judiciary,” he said.
Diokno also discussed other issues, among which were the legal education reform, Bangsamoro Organic Law, recent spate of killings of lawyers, and congestion of jails and detention facilities.
“We have a jail congestion rate of 605 percent. The first thing I think we have to do is to add budget for jail cells.
These jails were built way back 30, 40, 50 years ago. They were only made to accommodate a few inmates,” he explained.
The human rights lawyer also highlighted the importance of ensuring accountability and transparency to restore the public’s confidence in the courts.
“Kung gusto natin ibalik ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa ating sistema ng hustisya, kailangan magkaroon tayo ng judicial accountability at kailangan magkaroon tayo ng judicial transparency,” Diokno said.