Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We do not have a national criminal database in the Philippines

A letter to the Supreme Court in early 2007 where I urged the formation of a NATIONAL CRIMINAL DATABASE of pending crimincal cases.



This refers to the matter of improving the role of the Judiciary in upgrading the National Criminal Database (if one exists).

Please confirm if the following statements are accurate:

  1. The local offices of provincial/city prosecutors furnish the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with copies of all criminal Informations they file with the local courts, per the NBI Act;

  1. The local courts furnish the local offices of the city prosecutors, the local offices of the public attorneys (if not represented by counsel de parte), and the local jail wardens (if accused are detention prisoners) with copies of decisions in criminal cases.

  1. Local courts do not furnish the NBI central office and the local and central headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) with copies of decisions in criminal cases.

  1. In some instances, local courts furnish the central office of the NBI and the central HQ of the PNP with copies of warrants of arrest.

  1. In most cases, local courts furnish the local PNP station where the courts sit and the local PNP station where the accused reside with copies of warrants of arrest.

  1. The Office of the Court Administrator does not furnish the DOJ head office, NBI central office, and PNP national HQ with copies of the status summaries of pending and decided criminal cases submitted by local courts.

  1. There is no coordinated, updated, upgraded, complete, and computerized (digitized) centralized National Criminal Database in the country that is founded on the principle of institutional information sharing between the Judiciary and the Executive.

  1. The criminal data of the country are scattered in various local and national offices/agencies, whether in the Judicial branch or the Executive branch.

  1. The NBI and the PNP do not have digitized databases of criminal decisions of the courts to compare with their records of pending and served warrants of arrests.

It seems to me that the NBI and PNP databases are so outmoded and outdated that a person may secure an NBI or a police clearance that does not reflect his pending and decided criminal cases.

It seems to me, too, that the Supreme Court should pro-actively engage in institutional information sharing with the Executive Branch in this regard.

May I respectfully inquire: What judicial reform programs are being funded or have been attempted or have been actually completed and done by the Supreme Court with the help of its foreign donors and partners to help improve, coordinate, upgrade and update the information sharing between the Judiciary and the Executive with the end in view of regularly maintaining a National Criminal Database to promote the rule of law and the administration of criminal justice in the country?

If you feel that this issue should be included in the current Action Program for Judicial Reform, kindly refer the same to the Program Management Office or to the proper Standing Committee of the Supreme Court, for study and pro-active action and initiatives.

As a local Bar leader, I shall appreciate receiving status information on the foregoing matter, at your convenient time, for further study by the local Bar (a pillar in the justice system).

May your day be blessed, happy, and liberated. Thank you.