Senate approves bill providing protection to judiciary officials, members

THE SENATE on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill that will create a security force that will protect judiciary officials and other members.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, Sr., primary sponsor of the bill, cited in a statement that 157 lawyers, judges, and court personnel were killed from 2016 to July 2021 under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Senate Bill 1947 or An Act Creating the Office of the Judiciary Marshals was passed with 21 affirmative votes and one abstention from Senator Ronald M. Dela Rosa.

The former police officer previously cited possible constitutional issues on the overlapping of functions between and among law enforcement agencies, as the proposed measure grants investigative powers to the office. In response, Mr. Gordon assured that the scope of investigations will be confined to the order of the High Court.

Under the proposed measure, the judiciary marshals will be primarily responsible for the security, safety, and protection of the members, officials, personnel, and property of the judicial branch, including the integrity of the courts and their proceedings.

An initial funding of P50 million will be needed for the enactment of the proposed law. The counterpart bill in the House of Representatives was passed on third reading in June. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan