DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla. | Photo from Philippine News Agency

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday formally directed prosecutors to withdraw cases where the chances of conviction are slim.

Department Circular No. 008 stated that the measure will decongest court dockets and is “in view of the department’s policy direction to only file cases with a reasonable certainty of conviction.”

Prosecutors were directed to “carefully assess all their cases and to determine if each has a reasonable certainty of conviction based on the evidence in hand, availability of witnesses and continued interest of private complainants.”

“If upon assessment by the handling prosecutor, it is determined that there is no such reasonable certainty of conviction, the said handling prosecutor is ordered to immediately file the proper motion to withdraw (the) information,” DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement.

DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said Remulla’s policy is to file only quality cases or cases that will yield convictions.

“The gap between probable cause and proof beyond reasonable doubt is too wide. As a result, the conviction rate suffers. The congestion rate in jails balloons as well. It happens too often that persons are committed to jail and then eventually released after they are acquitted,” he said in a separate statement.

Clavano said government resources are wasted when weak cases are filed.

“These problems, among others, can be solved by filing only cases with a reasonable certainty of conviction,” he said.

Clavano said an amendment of court rules on preliminary investigation “is forthcoming as the Supreme Court has agreed to let DOJ take the lead.

It is also possible that Rule 112 will be completely removed from the Rules of Court to make it a purely executive function, according to Clavano.

Under Rule 112, when a person is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an inquest has been conducted. (PNA)

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