JSCC Evidence Management Forum, 15-16 October 2015 Manila


In the Philippines, heavy reliance is placed on the use of testimonial evidence.  Since testimonial evidence is inherently unreliable, the JSCC felt it was now time to shift away from reliance on testimonial evidence to prove a case and move toward the use of forensic evidence. In order to do this, it was crucial to:

  • Examine basic procedures, policies and guidelines in the handling of evidence.
  • Review and revisit the present state and condition of the handling of evidence
  • Identify issues/problems/gaps in the management of evidence including its retrieval, custody, safekeeping and disposal;
  • Formulate strategies and action plans between and among key agencies as solutions to the issues/problems/gaps; and, 
  • Initiate and secure commitments between and among key agencies toward implementation of the strategies and action plans.

The Evidence Management Forum examined these issues and the JSCC Justice Zone TWG in Quezon City is now working on implementation of the proposals recommend by the participants of the Forum.   The Forum was attended by representatives from the various agencies involved in the handling and management of evidence, such as, (1) Judiciary; (2) Crime Laboratories and Evidence Custodians of the Philippine National Police; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency; National Bureau of Investigation; (3) Department of Justice and the prosecutorial offices; (4) Office of the Solicitor General; (5) Public Attorney’s Office; and, (6) Evidence Custodians of local Police Stations. 

Access to Justice Network Training in Palawan

Access to justice is a basic human right enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Meeting these rights has however been a challenge to both the government and non-governmental organisations. Surveys have shown that members of poor and marginalised groups have expressed great dissatisfaction in the delivery of legal services and of their ability to access justice system in general. It is in this context that the Access to Justice Network Program has been developed. The purpose of the AJN program is to increase accessibility to civil, criminal and administrative justice systems of the poor and disadvantaged. By empowering citizens to seek and obtain remedies through improving their legal awareness and, in tandem, by capacitating government and legal aid services to provide more responsive administration of formal and informal justice it is hoped that access to justice may effectively be realised. 

The European Union, through the EPJUST II, has thus decided to support the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in partnership with the Provincial Government of Palawan and the United Muslim Communities in Palawan for Peace and Progress (UMCPPP) to develop and pilot the Access to Justice Network (AJN) Program in the province of Palawan. The project partnership developed operational and training manuals for the AJN and trained barangay officers/facilitators of prospective AJN pilot areas in 10 select barangays to prepare them for implementing barangay-based legal assistance and referral AJN centers for their constituents. There were five trainees per barangay for a total of 50 trained AJN facilitators. AJN centers in these barangays will become operational anywhere from the last month of this year to the first quarter of 2016.   

EPJUST 2 PSC Meeting

This activity is under the European Union-Philippines Justice Support Programme 2 (EPJUST2) funded by the EU and administered by the DILG. The programme focuses on introducing reforms to the justice sector to enable Filipinos particularly the poor and marginalized sectors to access equitable justice.

Read more: EPJUST 2 PSC Meeting

What is a Justice Zone?