SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez has called again for the abolition of the Court of Appeals.
Alvarez said the country’s judicial system needs reform and steps must be taken to speed up the dispensation of justice.
Speaking during the two-day conference on Judicial Institution Building and Reforms at the New World Hotel in Manila, Alvarez proposed massive changes to the country’s judicial system.
According to Alvarez, the administration’s push for a shift to a federal system of government requires structural changes not just in the Executive and Legislative branches of government but also in the Judiciary.
Citing the saying that justice delayed is justice denied, Alvarez lamented that under the present system, cases in the courts take too long to resolve at the level of the trial court alone.
After this, the cases may be brought to the Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court and it takes years before a final decision is reached.
“For the sake of our people, let us consider simplifying the process. I propose that the Court of Appeals, unless it can speedily resolve cases brought to it and, in other words, unless it can be shown that it facilitates rather than delays the speedy disposition of justice, be abolished,” Alvarez said.
Instead, Alvarez said the number of trial courts should be expanded in proportion to the size of the population.
He said the government should further invest in the specialization of the trial courts to resolve particular cases and improve capacity of the judges and staff through management training and further studies so these courts can render speedy and fair judgments.
Moreover, Alvarez said only the cases as provided for in the Constitution should reach the Supreme Court.
“Let us also work on removing the delaying tactics afforded by the present system to lawyers who abuse the benevolence of the courts,” he said.
Alvarez pointed out that currently there are pilot courts in Metro Manila implementing a continuous trial system. He said these courts should clear their schedules to focus on finishing a specific number of cases rather than juggle so many cases at the same time.
“This will facilitate the speedy disposition of cases. No more back and forth for witnesses who need to travel from out of town. No more witnesses who, because of old age, are already dead by the time they are called to testify. No more pieces of evidence lost with the passage of the years. This is the way forward in the attainment of justice and the rule of law in our country,” Alvarez said.
To protect the interest of litigants, Alvarez proposed stricter legislation to curb corruption within the ranks of the judiciary.
He added that reforms are meant to simplify the judicial process. He encouraged the participants to the conference to seek bigger and better reforms to truly revolutionize serving justice to the Filipino people.