Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday pushed for the employment of more security marshals to better protect the country’s judges, justices, and other court officials.
Speaking during the briefing session on the proposed 2024 budget allocation for agencies within the Judiciary, Cayetano not only voiced his support for the Supreme Court’s request for funding to employ over 1,000 security marshals but also advocated for an even greater allocation.
Rather than granting P50 million to the Supreme Court as earmarked in the submitted budget proposal, Cayetano urged fellow lawmakers to increase it to up to P250 million so the high court can provide competitive salaries for its marshals.
He said such an amount is needed to fund high-quality training for the marshals so they can be “almost at par with (the) Secret Service,” referring to the US Secret Service which, among others, is charged with protecting government officials.
“The Supreme Court is not immune from piracy so gandahan po natin ang sweldo nila,” he said.
The independent senator cited what happened to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which used to attract top lawyers and accountants. “(Pero) ngayon nasa private sector (na),” he said.
Cayetano said aside from the protection of judges and justices, studies have proven that the presence of more security forces contributes to the general peace and order in the country.
“Kasi hindi naman nagdidistinguish ang tao ‘pag may nakitang chapa [badge], whether BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) ‘yan or sa Bureau of Fire, or DOJ (Department of Justice), Correctional, or sa Police,” he said.
Cayetano said this highlights the need for greater protection for judges, justices, and prosecutors.
“Ang nakikita ko, as we fight crime, [kailangan] protektahan talaga y’ung judge at prosecutor kasi kahit ano’ng sabihin natin, we have places in the country na [delikado sila],” he said.
Cayetano said court officials need a strong level of security because like other high-ranking government officials, they face threats to their lives on a daily basis.
“People who want to assassinate [someone] have money. They can buy the most high-tech weaponry, they can surveil you and your children,” he said.
“Usually sa atin, kapag may nangyari, [tsaka lang ibubuhos] ang pera. Pero pagdating sa buhay, it’s better to prevent [attacks],” he added.