New Philippines Manual for Prosecutors Seeks to Improve Case Resolution

To help improve the Philippines criminal justice system and strengthen the ability of prosecutors to effectively prosecute cases, the American Bar Association Ruleof Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) recently revised and handed over 2,300 copies of the three-volume 2017 Revised Manual for Prosecutors to the Philippines Department of Justice (DOJ). The manual represents an important step for the DOJ as part of its efforts to ensure that prosecutors have access to materials that reflect the most recent laws and procedures necessary for them to perform their duties.

The manuals were handed over to the DOJ during an official ceremony on Nov. 26, 2017. Upon receiving these deliverables, Secretary of Justice for the DOJ, Vitaliano N. Aguirre II said, “the nine years that stand between the former and the present edition of the manual has seen dynamic changes in the laws, the rules and in the court decisions that impact heavily on how our prosecutors discharge their duties. Undeniably, this face-lift is a very timely and a most welcome infusion.” Aguirre later told the press that 2017 Revised Manual for Prosecutors will not only help speed up the resolution of cases, but will also provide an invaluable tool to newly appointed prosecutors through its samples and templates.

ABA ROLI revamped the original “Basic Orientation Program for Newly Appointed Prosecutors” manual by creating a new curriculum including sections on the Rules of Evidence, Gender Sensitivity, and Child Friendly Case handling. A team of experts, including a former prosecutor and a clinical law professor, helped develop a training module and created and conducted training for trainers for 67 experienced prosecutors. This updated manual and training program are a milestone for the DOJ, because neither the manual nor the training materials had been updated since 2008, leading to a high rate of dismissal.

“ABA ROLI is delighted to have partnered with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and the International Development Law Organization, as well as the Philippine DOJ to develop this manual and training program,” said Elisabeth Baraka, ABA ROLI’s Director for Asia and the Pacific. “These manuals will be critical for prosecutors in the Philippines to apply the law as they seek to play their role in supporting a fair and trusted legal system.”