SEVERAL senators on Tuesday backed a higher budget for the Department of Justice (DoJ) and its attached agencies, citing the need for more government prosecutors and better facilities. 

“I am in support of a higher budget for the Department of Justice since the agency serves an important purpose,” Senator Raffy T. Tulfo said in mixed English and Filipino at a hearing. 

“We need to upgrade the budget and the state of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) along with other attached agencies of the DoJ.” he added. 

The Budget department proposed a P26.69-billion budget for DoJ, or 0.51% of the P5.27-trillion national budget for next year. 

This amount is also 5.7% higher than the DoJ’s budget. 

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano also backed the need to modernize the Justice department. 

“We should take a dual approach and provide more facilities and prosecutors.” he said. “We should also look at the bigger picture of social justice and make our country less litigious.” 

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla told senators he would meet with the Chinese ambassador to discuss the deportation of Chinese nationals behind illegal offshore gaming operations in the country. 

He said almost 40,000 Chinese were staying in the country illegally due to these operations. 

The Justice chief added that 216 previously licensed POGO companies had stopped paying dues to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. 

Several senators have proposed to ban offshore gaming operations in the country that they blamed for the spate of abductions victimizing mostly Chinese nationals. — John Victor D. Ordoñez