In a move that is intent on revitalizing the National Prosecution Service (“NPS"), and on improving its performance in relation to cases imbued with public interest, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima issued Department Order No. 826, dated 5 October 2011, reconstituting the NPS Task Forces.
After assessing the performance of the NPS and of the Task Forces over the last fifteen (15) months, Secretary De Lima decided that positive steps need to be taken in order to revitalize and infuse dynamism into the service.
According to her, "The National Prosecution Service, as the primary prosecution arm of the government, is at the center of all our efforts to improve the quality of the criminal justice system of our country. Therefore, if we see that there is room for improvement in this vital organization, we will institute appropriate reforms to address whatever may be holding it back from achieving optimum efficiency and effectiveness."
The Task Forces, whose chairmanship and composition were reconstituted by the D.O., include those on Intellectual Property Piracy, Trafficking in Persons, Terrorism, Smuggling, Money Laundering, Human Rights and Extra-Legal Killings, Financial Fraud and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-related cases, Securities and Business Scam, Bureau of Internal Revenue-related cases, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Recruitment, Carnapping and Kidnapping. Task Forces to handle the so-called "Legacy Cases," the “Titulong Malinis" project of the Land Registration Authority (aimed at rooting out fake and spurious land titles), and the Security of Energy Facilities and Enforcement of Energy Laws are also among those covered by the D.O.
"These cases involige issues that affect the whole nation, whether in terms of public order and security, economic stability and development, or the overall integrity of our government services. Thisis why we are intent on ensuring that they are given the degree of focus that is commensurate to their importance and, at the same time, that they are justly resolved without undue delay. For this reason, we have changed the composition of the Task Forces and expanded the personnel complement of some, in the hope of giving the NPS the boost it needs to reach disposition rate at above 90% level," De Lima said. "Hopefully, the change will inspire palpable and positive results by the end of this year."
The Department Order takes effect immediately, and the Department is now seeing to its implementation, including the monitoring of the smooth transition among the Task Forces to ensure that the changes will not have any adverse effect on the timely disposition of cases already pending before them.