Access to justice is the “most important pillar” of the Supreme Court’s five-year Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations (SPJI), Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen declared recently.
“Justice and our fight for what is lawful ultimately reflects our ideals. It must be impartial to our liberties and freedoms. It must be fair and hold fairly those who are accountable. It must treat all of us as equal,” Leonen said in a speech.
“Accessibility to justice, in this view, is understood as a fundamental pillar for any democracy,” he added during the inauguration of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Quezon City Chapter’s New Legal Aid Center at the Quezon City Justice Hall last Jan. 26.
The SPJI was launched by the SC in October last year.
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said the SPJI is founded on four guiding principles, namely: “The Filipino people deserve a judiciary possessed of competence, integrity, probity, and independence; The Judiciary must provide equal access to justice real time; Public confidence in the Judiciary is dependent on transparency and accountability; (and) Technology must be the platform on which the basic court systems and processes run.”
During the event, the SC justices and members of the IBP re-affirmed their commitment to enhancing access to justice as part of the initiatives under the SPJI.
The legal aid center is located on the fourth floor of the Main Building, Quezon City Justice Hall. It is equipped with facilities and equipment for meetings and video conferencing hearings.
Aside from Gesmundo and Leonen, also present during the inauguration were Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Ricardo R. Rosario, Jhosep Y. Lopez, Antonio T. Kho, Jr., and Maria Filomena D. Singh, and IBP National President Lawyer Burt M. Estrada and IBP Governor for Greater Manila Region and IBP-QC Chapter President Lawyer Marcelino Michael I. Atanante IV.
Also present during the inauguration were Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, Assistant Court Administrator Lilian C. Barribal-Co, and Assistant Court Administrator and PIO Chief Lawyer Brian Keith F. Hosaka.
Among the other IBP officials present were IBP National Director for Legal Aid Lawyer Eric C. Alajar and IBP-QC Chapter Vice President Lawyer Melissa R. Encanto-Tagarda.