MANILA, Philippines — To hasten the disposition of cases and eventually improve the justice system, Sen. Bong Go pushes for the creation of more Court of Appeals divisions.
Go’s proposed Senate Bill 1253 or the “Act Creating Additional Divisions in the Court of Appeals, Increasing the Number of Court of Appeals Justices from Sixty-Nine (69) to Seventy-Eight (78), also seeks for the appointment of additional justices to help pushes the Judiciary in providing a more reliable, unbiased and swift delivery of justice in the country.
In amending Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, Go’s bill states that from the current 69 Court of Appeals justices, an additional 9 more magistrates will be appointed by the President, bringing to 78 the total number of justices.
“There is hereby created a Court of Appeals which shall consist of a Presiding Justice and seventy-seven (77) Associate Justices who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines,” Go said.”
In his explanatory note, Go said that in order to enforce and protect fundamental rights, “a strong and efficient Judiciary is essential.” The senator also mentioned that the Judiciary must be steadfast in fulfilling its role in administering justice.
Yet with the current situation the Court of Appeals is facing, such as delays in decisions and resolution of cases because of clogged dockets caused by a great number of cases being handled by current number of justices, the appellate court is in need of restructuring.
Go said that this current dilemma of the Court of Appeals jeopardizes the fulfillment of the court’s mandate resulting to fixing the problem internally instead of addressing it through a legislative act.
“These problems cause inevitable delays in deciding and resolving cases, diluting the public’s confidence and trust in the country’s justice system. In this regard, the Court of Appeals, as the country’s foremost appellate court, has been instituting internal measures to alleviate the problem,” the senator emphasized.
“The Legislative must not leave it to the Judiciary to fix the problem, as it takes an inter-departmental effort to properly address it. These additional members and divisions will enable the Court of Appeals to handle its case load in a more efficient manner,” Go further stated.
The filing of the bill comes after the senator lamented the snail-paced judicial system in the country on which he aired in an interview last month after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court handed down the ruling on the decade-old Maguindanao massacre.
Earlier, the senator expressed that the Maguindanao massacre case took 10 long years before victims were given justice after finding Andal Ampatuan Jr. and together with several of his relatives and primary suspects, guilty of multiple accounts of murder, and were sentenced to reclusion perpetua without parole.
The senator also said in previous statements that because of the slow justice system in the country, Filipinos are left with no choice but to seek help from the President.
With the proposed measure, the bill seeks to add three more divisions of the Court of Appeals, each with three members. The bill also listed down the proposed permanent stations of the courts.
The first 17 divisions will be stationed in Manila for cases coming from the Third to the Fifth Judicial Regions, while the next three divisions will be stationed in Cebu for cases coming from the Sixth to Eighth Judicial Regions.
Divisions 21st to 23rd will be posted in Cagayan de Oro City for cases coming from the 9th and 10th Judicial Regions, and the 24th Division will be in Vigan City which will deal cases from the First and Second Judicial Regions.
Lastly, the 25th and 26th Divisions will be positioned in Davao City for cases coming from the 11th and 12th Judicial Regions.
In addition to these proposed provisions, the bill also states that the Court of Appeals must hold continuous trials and hearings and, “must be completed within three (3) months unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”
The senator hopes for a faster and more efficient judiciary system in the country. With the filed bill, he looks forward to many cases being resolved promptly and that justice will be served especially to the Filipinos who seek it the most. (Stacy Ang/JGo/Currentph.com)