THE Philippines is still among the countries in the region with the weakest rule of law, ranking 102nd in the latest World Justice Project's (WJP) Rule of Law Index that covers 139 countries and jurisdictions.

The WJP, an independent and multidisciplinary organization, released this week the annual Rule of Law Index 2021, which assesses 139 nations based on national surveys of over 138,000 families and 4,200 legal practitioners and experts worldwide.

Based on the report, the Philippines dropped from 91st out of 128 countries in the index last year and remained at 13th place out of 15 countries in East Asia and the Pacific region, ahead of Myanmar and Cambodia.

The index measures adherence to the rule of law based on eight indicators namely constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice.

In the latest index, the Philippines scored 0.46, lower by 0.01 compared to last year.

The score is based on a scale of 0 to 1, where 1 indicates strongest adherence to the rule of law.

The country's scores also declined in all indicators except in regulatory enforcement and criminal justice, which stayed at 0.48 and 0.31, respectively.

The index also noted a statistically significant change in the country's score in order and security, which dropped by 0.02 to 0.63.

The country's overall score in the index has also steadily declined from 0.53 in 2015, 0.51 in 2016, and 0.47 from 2017 to 2020.

The WJP noted that significant trends in the Philippines included "deterioration in the factor measuring Order and Security."

"In a year dominated by the global Covid-19 pandemic, 74.2 percent of surveyed countries experienced declines in rule of law performance, while only 25.8 percent improved," the WPJ said.

"The declines were widespread and seen in all corners of the world. For the second year in a row, in every region, a majority of countries slipped backward or remained unchanged in their overall rule of law performance," it added.

The Philippine government is under scrutiny as the International Criminal Court (ICC) looks into the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign from July 1, 2016 to March 16, 2019, as well as in Davao City between Nov. 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016.

The international court had said it found evidence of "crimes against humanity" in the period.

But Malacañang has repeatedly insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines since the country withdrew from the Rome Statute.

The Philippines formally withdrew its membership from the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after it revoked the Rome Statute that created the international tribunal.