The Philippines ranked the highest in impunity, according to the 2017 Global Impunity Index conducted by the University of the Americas Puebla and UDLAP Jenkins Graduate School.
The study was conducted among 69 countries. A total of 124 countries that are Member States of the United Nations were not included due to lack of sufficient information on security and justice.
The Philippines topped in the impunity index with 75.6 points, followed by India with 70.94 points. Other countries in the top were Cameroon, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Russia, Paraguay, Honduras and El Salvador.
The USA was also very low down the list, at 14th from the bottom. The top of the list was dominated by European nations.
A statement released with the index said: “The Philippines is going through one of its critical moments, due to the increase of violence related with organised crime and increased terrorist activities from local gangs linked with the Islamic State.”
It added that high rates of impunity can lead to socioeconomic inequality, legal inequality, rule-of-law problems, poor economic development, low foreign investment and tourism and increasing human rights violations.
Response to impunity findings
In response to the findings, the Malacañang today (Friday, September 22) vowed to strengthen the national justice system.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said: “The true depth, breadth and magnitude of crime and terrorism, funded by illegal drugs, have only been recently uncovered; resistance from those adversely affected by the current government’s campaign against illegal drugs has been strong, and internal cleansing by organised crime have all had violent results.
“We must therefore strengthen the pillars of the criminal justice system, which include the community, law enforcement, prosecution, the courts and corrections.”
However, he also said the report should be taken in its “proper context”. He added that previous administrations faced the same problems but said it was only under the Duterte administration that crime and terrorism were “being decisively addressed”.
Opposition lawmakers have also responded to the findings.
Caloocan Representative Edgar Erica said: “The worst is yet to come if the government will not come up with an alternative program in bringing (a) solution to the illegal drugs problem.
Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. called the Philippine ranking “a global indictment of the kind of justice being perpetuated in the country.”
“Getting this ignominious reputation is no surprise because this government promotes impunity as an official policy,” he said.
In Duterte’s war on drugs, Baguilat lamented that justice was achieved “through the barrel of the gun and accountability of agents of impunity is set aside.”