Department of Justice

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The Department of Justice (DOJ; Filipino: Kagawaran ng Katarungan) is the principal law agency of the Philippine government. The DOJ derives its mandate from the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292)[1] and serves as the government's prosecution arm, administering its criminal justice system. It is also the country's legal counsel and representative in litigation and proceedings that require the services of a lawyer.

History

The DOJ’s beginning can be traced to the Naic Assembly, which happened on April 17, 1897. The newly created Department of Grace and Justice, headed by Don Severino delas Alas, was tasked to establish a regime of law. However, the department was not included in the short-lived Republic of Biak-na-Bato, which lasted from November to December 1897.

Following the proclamation of independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12,  1898, President Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree, on 26 September 1898, to bring back the department. It was again left out when the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated in January 1899.

Later in 1899, the American military force established the Office of the Attorney of the Supreme Court to act as a justice department. It was renamed Office of the Attorney General on June 11, 1901 and then reorganized into the Department of Finance and Justice on September 1, 1901. After the Jones Law was passed in 1916, the department once again became independent as the Department of Justice. It was given executive supervision over all courts of first instance and other inferior courts.

The department was made a commission under the Japanese military rule. When the Japanese established a civilian government in 1943, it was changed into a ministry. When World War II ended and the Commonwealth government was re-established, the Department of Justice was reactivated.

During martial law, Presidential Decree No.1 reorganized the executive branch of the national government. Letter of Implementation No. 20 of December 31, 1972 organized the department proper into the following:

  • Office of the Secretary
  • Financial and Management Service
  • Administrative Service
  • Technical Staff
  • Prosecution Staff
  • Legal Staff
  • Judiciary Division
  • Commission on Immigration and Deportation
  • National Bureau of Investigation
  • Office of the Government Corporate Counsel
  • Board of Pardons and Parole
  • Bureau of Prisons
  • Citizens Legal Assistance Office

The department became the Ministry of Justice under the 1973 Constitution. After Ferdinand Marcos was deposed, the People Power Revolution of 1986 also ushered in the contemporary Department of Justice. With the adoption of the 1987 Constitution and the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292), the Department of Justice was named the principal law agency of the Republic of the Philippines, serving as its legal counsel and prosecution arm.

List of Secretaries of Justice

# Name Term Began Term Ended President Period
The Department of Grace and Justice was part of Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo's 1897 Naic Assembly Cabinet,with Severino de las Alas as the Director of Grace and Justice.However, the position was not in Aguinaldo's Biak-na-Bato Cabinet that followed months after. Emilio Aguinaldo Katipunan revolutionarygovernment
Secretary of Justice Revolutionary Government
1 Severino de las Alas April 17, 1897 August 31, 1897
2 Gregorio S. Araneta September 1, 1897 May 19, 1899
The department was not part of Aguinaldo's Cabinet during the First Republic, inaugurated in January 1899. First Republic
Attorney General N/A American military government
3 Florentino Torres May 29, 1899 June 4, 1901
Secretaries of Finance and Justice Insular Government(American occupation)
4 Henry C. Ide September 1, 1901 June 30, 1908
5 Gregorio S. Araneta July 1, 1908 October 10, 1913
6 Victorino Mapa November 1, 1913 August 1916
Secretaries of Justice
* Victorino Mapa August 1916 June 30, 1920
7 Quintin B. Paredes July 1, 1920 December 15, 1921
8 José Abad Santos April 26, 1922 July 17, 1923
9 Luis P. Torres June 18, 1923 August 31, 1928
10 José Abad Santos September 1, 1928 June 18, 1932
11 Alexander A. Reyes June 19, 1932 December 31, 1932
12 Quirico M. Abeto January 1, 1933 July 5, 1934
13 José Yulo July 6, 1934 November 14, 1935
November 15, 1935 November 15, 1938 Manuel L. Quezon Commonwealth
14 José Abad Santos December 5, 1938 July 16, 1941
15 Teófilo Sison July 18, 1941 November 27, 1941
Commissioners of Justice N/A Japanese militarygovernment
16 José P. Laurel December 24, 1941 December 4, 1942
17 Teofilo L. Sison December 4, 1942 October 14, 1943
18 Quintin Paredes October 14, 1943 December 25, 1944 José P. Laurel Second Republic
Secretary of Justice, Labor and Welfare Sergio Osmeña Sr. Commonwealth

(in exile)

19 Mariano A. Eraña (acting) December 25, 1944 February 17, 1945
Secretary of Justice, Agriculture and Commerce Commonwealth

(restored)

20 Delfín Jaranilla February 17, 1945 December 31, 1945
Secretaries of Justice
21 Ramon Quisumbing January 2, 1946 May 28, 1946
22 Roman Ozaeta May 29, 1946 July 4, 1946
July 4, 1946 April 15, 1948 Manuel Roxas Third Republic
April 17, 1948 September 17, 1948 Elpidio Quirino
23 Sabino B. Padilla September 19, 1948 June 30, 1949
24 Ricardo P. Nepomuceno July 1, 1949 July 25, 1950
25 Jose P. Bengzon August 29, 1950 September 23, 1951
26 Oscar Castelo January 1, 1952 August 16, 1953
27 Roberto Gianzon August 17, 1953 December 30, 1953
28 Pedro Tuazon January 4, 1954 March 17, 1957 Ramon Magsaysay
March 18, 1957 March 19, 1958 Carlos P. Garcia
29 Jesus Barrera April 18, 1958 June 4, 1959
30 Enrique Fernandez June 11, 1959 July 13, 1959
31 Alejo Mabanag July 14, 1959 December 31, 1961
32 Jose Diokno January 2, 1962 May 19, 1962 Diosdado Macapagal
33 Juan R. Liwag May 20, 1962 July 7, 1963
34 Salvador L. Marino July 9, 1963 December 31, 1965
35 José Yulo January 1, 1966 August 4, 1967 Ferdinand Marcos
36 Claudio Teehankee, Sr. August 5, 1967 December 16, 1968
37 Juan Ponce Enrile December 17, 1968 February 7, 1970
38 Felix Makasiar February 8, 1970 August 1, 1970
39 Vicente Abad Santos August 2, 1970 January 17, 1973
Ministers of Justice
* Vicente Abad Santos January 17, 1973 January 16, 1979
40 Catalino Macaraig, Jr. January 17, 1979 July 22, 1979
41 Ricardo C. Puno July 23, 1979 June 1981
July 1981 June 30, 1984 Fourth Republic
42 Estelito P. Mendoza June 30, 1984 February 27, 1986
43 Neptali A. Gonzales February 28, 1986 March 8, 1987 Corazon C. Aquino
Secretaries of Justice Fifth Republic
44 Sedfrey A. Ordoñez March 9, 1987 January 2, 1990
45 Franklin M. Drilon January 4, 1990 July 14, 1991
46 Silvestre H. Bello III July 15, 1991 February 10, 1992
* Eduardo G. Montenegro (acting) February 10, 1992 June 30, 1992
47 Franklin Drilon July 1, 1992 February 2, 1995 Fidel V. Ramos
48 Demetrio G. Demetria February 3, 1995 May 19, 1995
49 Teofisto T. Guingona Jr. May 20, 1995 January 31, 1998
* Silvestre H. Bello III February 1, 1998 June 30, 1998
50 Serafin R. Cuevas July 1, 1998 February 15, 2000 Joseph Ejercito Estrada
51 Artemio G. Tuquero February 16, 2000 January 23, 2001
52 Hernando B. Perez January 24, 2001 November 26, 2002 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
53 Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez [1st female] November 27, 2002 January 15, 2003
54 Simeon Datumanong January 16, 2003 December 23, 2003
55 Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez December 24, 2003 August 31, 2004
56 Raul Gonzalez September 1, 2004 September 2, 2007
* Agnes Devanadera September 3, 2007 November 15, 2007
* Raul Gonzalez November 16, 2007 January 11, 2010
* Agnes Devanadera January 12, 2010 March 8, 2010
* Alberto Agra March 10, 2010 June 30, 2010
57 Leila de Lima June 30, 2010 October 12, 2015 Benigno Simeon Aquino III
* Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa October 12, 2015 January 21, 2016
* Emmanuel Caparas January 22, 2016 June 30, 2016
58 Vitaliano Aguirre II June 30, 2016 April 5, 2018 Rodrigo Duterte
59 Menardo Guevarra April 5, 2018 Incumbent

Notable Secretaries of Justice

Organizational structure

At present, the Department is headed by the Secretary of Justice, with four undersecretaries and six assistant secretaries.

Under the Office of the Secretary are the following offices and services

  • Administrative Service
  • Board of Pardons and Parole
  • DOJ Action Center
  • Financial Service
  • Library Service
  • Office of the Prosecutor General (National Prosecution Service)
  • Office of the Chief State Counsel (Legal Staff)
  • Planning and Management Service
  • Technical Staff
  • Office of Cybercrime
  • Office for Competition
  • Internal Audit Service

Prosecutors are assigned to each of the regions, provinces, and cities of the Philippines.[2]

Attached agencies

The following agencies and offices are attached to the DOJ for policy and program coordination:

Agency Head
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Gerald Bantag
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Jaime Hermo Morente
Land Registration Authority (LRA) Renato D. Bermejo
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Dante A. Gierran
Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) Elpidio Vega
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) Jose Calida
Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) Manuel G. Co
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Reynold S. Munsayac
Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Persida Acosta
Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution (OADR) Bernadette C. Ongoco

Gallery

References

  1. https://www.doj.gov.ph/vision-mission-and-mandate.html Vision, mission and mandate. Retrieved July 15, 2021
  2. Republic Act 10071.