What is DOJ? A Comprehensive Overview to the Department of Justice

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What is DOJ

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Philippines is the principal law agency of the government. It serves as the legal counsel and representative of the Republic of the Philippines, its government, its subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities. 

The DOJ is responsible for upholding the rule of law, administering justice, and ensuring the fair and impartial enforcement of laws.

The Department oversees various agencies, including the Bureau of Corrections and National Bureau of Investigation, contributing to effective law enforcement. The department is actively involved in programs like the Child Protection Program and Office of Cybercrime, addressing critical issues. 

In this article, we’ll explore the DOJ’s role, agencies, and programs, contributing to solutions for legal and societal challenges.

History and Founding

  • The Department of Justice in the Philippines traces its origins back to the Revolutionary Assembly in Naic, Cavite on April 17, 1897. Tasked with establishing a regime of law in the Republic, Severino de las Alas led the Department of Grace and Justice, although it was not included in President Aguinaldo’s Biak-na-Bato Cabinet established in November 1897.
  • Shortly after the proclamation of independence on June 12, 1898, President Emilio Aguinaldo resurrected the department as the Department of Justice via a September 26, 1898 decree. However, the department disappeared again in President Aguinaldo’s Cabinet upon the proclamation of the First Republic in 1899.
  • After the American occupation a year later, the military government established the Office of the Attorney of the Supreme Court. On June 11, 1901, it was renamed the Office of the Attorney General, and on September 1 of the same year, the office became the Department of Finance and Justice.
  • In 1916, the department became a separate entity (once again the Department of Justice) by virtue of the Jones Law, and was given administrative supervision over all courts of first instance and other inferior courts.
  • Under the Japanese occupation, the department became the Commission of Justice, and later the Ministry of Justice upon the proclamation of the Second Philippine Republic in 1943. After the country’s liberation from Japanese forces near the end of World War II, the restored Commonwealth government reactivated the Department.

Today, the DOJ continues to pursue its primary mission “To Uphold the Rule of Law” with its “Justice for All” motto. 

Mandate, Mission & Vision

The DOJ envisions a fair and peaceful society based on transparency, accountability, fairness, and truth. Its mission is to administer justice effectively, efficiently, and equitably. 

Derived from the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292), the DOJ’s mandate is executed through the Department Proper and attached agencies under the direct control of the Secretary of Justice.

Functioning as the government’s main law agency under Executive Order 292, the DOJ serves as the prosecution arm, handling the criminal justice system by investigating and prosecuting crimes and overseeing corrections. 

It also acts as the government’s legal counsel in legal matters, enforces laws regarding the admission and stay of aliens in the Philippines, and provides free legal services to indigent citizens and qualified individuals.

DOJ Key Officials

OSEC (Office of the Secretary):

  • Jesus Crispin C. Remulla

USEC (Undersecretaries):

  • Jesse Hermogenes T. Andres
  • Jose R. Cadiz, Jr.
  • Brigido J. Dulay
  • Deo L. Marco
  • Geronimo L. Sy
  • Nicholas Felix L. Ty
  • Raul T. Vasquez

ASEC (Assistant Secretaries):

  • Jose Dominic F. Clavano IV
  • Jose Arturo R. Malvar
  • Majken Anika S. Gran-Ong
  • Randolph A. Pascasio
  • Francis John L. Tejano
  • Fredderick A. Vida

Career Opportunities

The Department of Justice (DOJ) offers diverse career opportunities for individuals passionate about upholding the rule of law and contributing to the administration of justice. Some of the potential career paths and opportunities at DOJ include:

Legal Positions:

  • Prosecutors: Handling criminal cases and representing the government in court.
  • Legal Counsels: Providing legal advice and representation to government agencies.

Investigative Roles:

  • Investigators: Conducting thorough investigations into criminal activities.
  • Agents: Serving in agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Correctional Services:

  • Correctional Officers: Overseeing rehabilitation and managing correctional facilities.

Support Services:

  • Administrative Staff: Providing essential administrative and logistical support.
  • IT Professionals: Managing and enhancing technological systems.

Policy and Planning:

  • Policy Analysts: Developing and analyzing policies related to justice and law.
  • Planners: Contributing to the strategic planning of DOJ initiatives.

Human Rights Advocacy:

  • Human Rights Officers: Working on initiatives to promote and protect human rights.

Legal Education and Training:

  • Trainers: Educating and training legal professionals within the DOJ.

Public Service:

  • Public Attorneys: Providing legal assistance to indigent clients.

To explore specific job openings and career opportunities at the Department of Justice, individuals can check the official DOJ website, government job portals, and civil service commission platforms. 

Regularly monitoring these channels can provide insights into available positions, requirements, and application procedures.

Main Office

The main office of the Department of Justice is located on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila, with the address being 1000, Republic of the Philippines. For inquiries or communication, you can reach out via telephone at (+632) 8523 8481 to 98.

Attached Organizations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Philippines oversees several attached agencies, each with a distinct role and mandate in contributing to the country’s justice system:

  • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI): The NBI is dedicated to establishing and maintaining a modern, effective, and efficient investigative service and research agency.
  • Bureau of Immigration (BI): Comprising the Office of the Commissioner, the Board of Commissioners, and the Board of Special Inquiry, the BI manages immigration matters with a focus on structural efficiency.
  • Public Attorney’s Office (PAO): The PAO’s mission is to provide indigent litigants, the oppressed, marginalized, and underprivileged members of society free access to courts.
  • Office of the Solicitor General (OSG): While the OSG is attached to the Department of Justice for budgetary purposes, it operates independently to uphold the legal interests of the government. As the principal law officer of the government, the OSG represents the Philippines in legal matters and provides legal advice to government agencies.
  • Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC): The OGCC serves as the principal legal counsel for government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs).
  • Bureau of Corrections (BuCOR): Tasked with the custody and rehabilitation of national offenders, BuCOR plays a crucial role in the correctional system.
  • Parole and Probation Administration (PPA): Offering a cost-effective alternative to imprisonment, PPA focuses on individualized community-based treatment programs.
  • Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG): Charged with assisting the President in recovering ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates, and close associates.
  • Land Registration Authority (LRA): The LRA is responsible for the efficient and effective implementation of land registration procedures in the Philippines.

Each agency contributes uniquely to the justice landscape, with specific mandates aligned to the overarching goal of upholding justice in the country.

Conclusion

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Philippines stands as a pillar of justice, overseeing a diverse array of attached agencies, each contributing uniquely to the country’s legal landscape. 

The DOJ, with its dedicated leadership and varied agencies, remains at the forefront of fostering a just and peaceful society.

Tips for Aspiring Job Applicants:

  • Research and Understand: Gain a deep understanding of the DOJ and its attached agencies, their missions, and the specific roles they play in the justice system.
  • Tailor Your Application: Customize your application materials, including your resume and cover letter, to align with the specific requirements of the position you’re applying for.
  • Highlight Relevant Skills: Emphasize skills that are directly applicable to the legal and justice field, such as legal research, communication, and analytical abilities.
  • Demonstrate Passion: Showcase your genuine passion for upholding justice and contributing to the mission of the DOJ. Share relevant experiences that reflect your commitment to these values.
  • Stay Updated: Keep abreast of legal developments, both nationally and internationally, and be prepared to discuss current issues during interviews.
  • Networking: Connect with professionals in the legal field, attend legal events, and participate in relevant online forums. Networking can provide valuable insights and opportunities.
  • Professional Development: Invest in continuous learning and professional development to stay competitive in the evolving legal landscape.
  • Be Prepared for Interviews: Anticipate questions related to your understanding of the DOJ, its attached agencies, and your motivations for wanting to contribute to the justice system.
  • Professionalism: Maintain a high level of professionalism in all interactions, from submitting your application to any subsequent interviews. This includes your online presence.
  • Seek Feedback: If possible, seek feedback on your application materials from mentors, career advisors, or professionals in the legal field.

Remember, each application is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to justice and contribute to the noble mission of the DOJ. 

Approach the process with enthusiasm, dedication, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact in the legal realm.

References

  • Department of Justice (Philippines) – Wikipedia. Retrieved October 13, 2023 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Justice_%28Philippines%29.
  • Agencies :: Department of Justice – Republic of the Philippines :: Tel …. Retrieved October 13, 2023 from https://www.doj.gov.ph/agencies.html.
  • Department of Justice | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved October 13, 2023 from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/section/briefing-room/department-of-justice-briefing-room/.
  • Freedom of Information (FOI). Retrieved October 13, 2023 from  https://www.foi.gov.ph/agencies.