Department of Justice (Philippines)

The Department of Justice (Filipino: Kagawaran ng Katarungan, abbreviated as DOJ) is under the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for upholding the rule of law in the Philippines. It is the government's principal law agency, serving as its legal counsel and prosecution arm.[2] It has its headquarters at the DOJ Building in Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

Department of Justice
Kagawaran ng Katarungan
Department of Justice (DOJ).svg
Department overview
FormedApril 17, 1897 (1897-04-17)
HeadquartersDOJ Building, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
14°34′45.70″N 120°59′1.93″E / 14.5793611°N 120.9838694°E / 14.5793611; 120.9838694
MottoJustitiae Pax Opus (Justice, Peace, Work)
Annual budget₱23.1 billion (2021)[1]
Department executive

The department is led by the Secretary of Justice, nominated by the President of the Philippines and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet. Duterte named Vitaliano Aguirre II as secretary[3] until his resignation and was replaced by Menardo Guevarra.


The DOJ traces its beginnings at the Revolutionary Assembly in Naic, Cavite on April 17, 1897. The Department of Grace and Justice was tasked with the establishment of a regime of law in the Republic, with Severino de las Alas at the helm.[4] The department, however, was not included in Pres. Aguinaldo's Biak-na-Bato Cabinet, which was 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.[5] The department, however, disappeared again in Pres. 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.[4]

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 the Japanese forces near the end of World War II, the restored Commonwealth government re-activated the Department.

Soon, the Supreme Court under the then 1973 Constitution took over the administrative supervision of all lower courts from the DOJ. The succeeding 1987 Constitution upheld it.

It became the Ministry of Justice once more in 1973 during Martial Law, continuing in that form until 1987, when the return to a presidential form of government as mandated by the 1987 Constitution transformed all ministries back to departments. Today, the DOJ continues to pursue its primary mission "To Uphold the Rule of Law" with its "Justice for All" motto. The Office of the Secretary (OSEC) is composed of the National Prosecution Service, the Legal Staff, the Administrative, Financial, Technical and Planning and Management Services and the Board of Pardons and Parole. The constituent and attached agencies include the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Public Attorney’s Office (Philippines) (PAO), Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), Bureau of Corrections (BuCOR), Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA).

List of Secretaries of JusticeEdit

Notable Secretaries of JusticeEdit

Organizational structureEdit

At present, the Department is headed by the Secretary of Justice,

with four undersecretaries, namely
  • Juliana Sunga
  • Deo Marco
  • Adrian Sugay
  • Jon Paulo Salvahan
five assistant secretaries, namely
  • Margaret Castillo-Padilla
  • Neal Vincent Bainto
  • Nicholas Felix Ty
  • Majken Anika S. Gran-Ong
  • Ma. Nerissa M. Carpio

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

  • Administrative Service
  • Board of Pardons and Parole
  • DOJ Action Center
  • Financial Service
  • Information and Communications Technology Service
  • Internal Audit Service
  • Library Service
  • Office for Competition
  • Office of Cybercrime
  • Office of the Chief State Counsel (Legal Staff)
  • Office of the Prosecutor General (National Prosecution Service)
  • Planning and Management Service
  • Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit[6]
  • Technical Staff

Prosecutors are assigned to each of the regions, provinces, and cities of the Philippines.[7]

Attached agenciesEdit

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 Bermejo
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Eric Distor
Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution (OADR) Atty. Irene D.T. Alogoc
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



  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Department of Justice – Vision, Mission and Mandate". Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "Vitaliano Aguirre is Duterte's secretary of justice". GMA News. May 18, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "History of the Department of Justice". Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "Today in Philippine History, September 26, 1898, Araneta and Buencamino were appointed to the Aguinaldo cabinet". The Kahimyang Project. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  6. ^ "Government won't allow entry of terrorists – DOJ".
  7. ^ "Republic Act 10071". Retrieved January 11, 2013.