Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has laid down his reform agenda under the so-called “Five-Year Program for the Judiciary”—with two items focused on case decongestion and technology-driven judiciary.
Speaking as the guest of honor at the online celebration of the 60th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Constitution Association on Sunday, Gesmundo said case decongestion and modernization of the judiciary could speed up the resolution of cases from the 15-bench down to the lower courts.
“Even if some of the petitions are not given due course for being either procedurally or substantially flawed, they are given time— studied, discussed, and voted upon by the Court—before being denied or dismissed outright in a minute resolution. For this reason and many others, the docket of the Supreme Court has reached a record high 34 years into this Constitution,” the Chief Magistrate said.
The SC, he said, has amended its internal rules to comply with the constitutional mandate of resolving cases within two years.
Gesmundo also underscored the importance of selecting competent judges.
“The majesty of the Court is in the integrity of its magistrates and the wisdom of their decisions—they, ever mindful of the impact these decisions have not only on the parties involved but also on society and the country,in general. The majesty of the Court lies in its devotion to render justice expeditiously, without fear or favor,” the said.
Toward this end, the Judicial and Bar Council has required non-judge applicants to undergo and pass the Pre-Judicature Program of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA) to determine their readiness and suitability for the position.
The Chief Justice cited the creation of the Judicial Integrity Board (JIB), which has the exclusive jurisdiction to investigate judicial misconduct and recommend appropriate sanctions when proper.
On the aspect of utilizing technology as a means to respond to the challenges confronting the courts, Gesmundo expressed his intention to develop and establish an Information and Communication Technology infrastructure for the Philippine Judiciary.
“I plan to set up an E-Court system to enhance court workflow processes and increase virtual access to the courts. This system hopes to cover the whole process from the filing of complaints to the promulgation and execution of judgments,” he said.
Founded in 1961, the Philconsa is a non-stock and non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and defense of the Constitution.
Also in attendance at the online gathering were Philconsa President Emeritus and retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno; Philconsa Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Lazaro; Philconsa President and House of Representatives Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez; and other officers and guests.