Chief Justice Gesmundo unveils SC’s five-year plan to make courts “consistently efficient and accountable” – Manila Bulletin

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo on GOJUST II Virtual Launch

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo laid out the Supreme Court’s (SC) “strategic plan” for the next five years to make the country’s courts “consistently effective and responsible shelters for the disadvantaged, the injured, the injured. “.

“Once and for all, the judiciary must provide its services, both judicial and administrative, in real time,” said Gesmundo.

The plan was announced by Gesmundo during the virtual launch on November 25 of the Justice Sector Reform Program: Governance in Justice (GOJUST II), a project supported by the European Union.

At the launch, Gesmundo admitted that the SC “has inherited a more than 100-year-old judiciary which is plagued by many problems – institutional, cultural and societal”.

He confessed: “The general population has regularly expressed its dissatisfaction with the slowness of justice in our country. Whether fairly or not, the courts have been blamed for such a delay in cases. The often-quoted expression “justice delayed is justice denied” has not lost its bitterness. “

He stressed that the “relevance of the Philippine legal system for society lies in its ability to recast itself, to reshape its traditions, to stay in step with the changing times. Reform is therefore a necessity that the judiciary must embrace for its survival.

He then asked for the support and contributions of his SC colleagues in the implementation of the five-year plan.

The five-year plan to 2026, said Gesmundo, is based on four guiding principles, namely:

“The Filipino people deserve a judicial system with competence, integrity, probity and independence.

“The judiciary must provide equal access to justice in real time.

“Public confidence in the judiciary depends on transparency and accountability.

“Technology must be the platform on which basic justice systems and processes operate. “

Gesmundo said the SC will monitor and evaluate the performance of judges, judges, officials and court staff.

“The SC will conduct a top-down organizational review and system-wide process mapping, the results of which will provide the basis for the digital infrastructure to be put in place, as well as guide the formulation of performance metrics. evidence-based and data-driven to create a truly effective evaluation system, ”he said.

He also said: “The SC will launch a campaign for the ethical accountability of the judiciary and the bar. The review of the Professional Responsibility Code is about to begin which, once approved by the Tribunal en banc, will be carried out across the country via an Ethics Caravan, culminating in a National Summit on Ethical Responsibility.

To address delays and the needs of litigants, the Justice Sector Coordination Council (JSCC) has established various justice zones in the country where the five pillars of the criminal justice system – courts, prosecutions, law enforcement order, correctional facilities and community – can come together. and tackle the problems, he said.

A justice zone is a place “where key programs related to the delivery of justice are in place, which maximizes coordination between the different actors of the agency to resolve the perennial problem of delays and the greater problem of accountability. “said the chief justice.

“During my tenure, GOJUST will continue to help us establish additional justice zones,” he said.

He stressed that effective legal representation is “the backbone of the right to due process in a day court”. But because of the expense, he lamented, many are denied legal representation. “Legal aid should therefore be strengthened as an equalization mechanism”, he stressed.

The SC allocates an annual budget for legal aid to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). “Despite this, there is a lot of room for improvement in IBP’s legal aid program,” Gesmundo said.

“The IBP should therefore step up its legal aid program by requiring its members, as a condition of remaining in good standing, to provide free legal aid services for a fixed number of hours per year. These legal aid services should include acting as supervising counsel to student practitioners under Rule 138-A. “

Rule 138-A, which institutionalized the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP), is expected to be operated by IBP in coordination with the Legal Education Council (LEB) and the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS ), did he declare.

“IBP, through its sections, should partner with established legal aid clinics of LEB-accredited law schools in their respective fields,” he added.

“To educate our people about the availability of free legal aid, a national legal aid summit will introduce the Supreme Court’s two-pronged legal aid initiative: through the legal aid program of the IBP revitalized and through the CLEP. The Court will also ensure the inclusion of a database of free legal aid providers on the Supreme Court website and the judiciary AI platforms that will be deployed, ”he said. also stated.

At the same time, Gesmundo said:

“We will also ensure 24/7/365 access to court and case information and services. Access to forensic services should not be limited to in-person access, especially in this time of a pandemic.

“Free and toll-free access through electronic or digital means, including social media, will expand the reach of court services and bridge the information gap between the public and the courts, and hopefully provide our people a legitimate source of help when faced with legal issues requiring court intervention. It’s also the fastest and most accessible way to deliver the educational information you need to those who need it.

“We will be launching social media access to justice information sites with user-friendly and easy-to-understand information about justice services and how to access them.

“In line with the promotion of transparency and accountability in the justice system, the Court should also take advantage of the eCourt v.2.0 system where litigants can follow the status of their cases online and in real time.

“The eCourt v.2.0 system will also allow the public to access online court services, including filing cases and paying court fees, and automate court workflow processes and procedures. the entire judicial system to eliminate opportunities for fraud.

“We will prioritize the development of the Philippine Judicial System ICT Governance Framework, ICT Strategic Plan (EISP) and MIS Operations Manual to ensure that we are able to properly manage our ICT resources, align strategic objectives, optimize associated risks, generate service value and design new user-centric court systems.

“Really, technology plays a very important role in the administration of justice. Change and technological evolution will shape our society, which is why we must be prepared to adapt and improve.

“In addition to the eCourt v.2.0 system, this outcome will include, among other things, the launch of the Philippine Judicial e-learning platform that will allow magistrates, court officials and staff to access content. “easily digestible” and well-designed learning. which can be immediately applied and integrated into daily work; and the artificial intelligence (AI) powered legal research workspace that will have the capacity to provide intelligent legal analysis and suggestions based on the words and phrases (including their context) entered by the user vis -to relevant substantive and procedural laws and legal precedents.

“We also aim to use AI in performance reviews, anti-corruption programs, public assistance and to accelerate the preparation of transcription of shorthand notes.

“The next five (5) years will be a crucial phase in the history of our judiciary. The plans, activities and programs included in the Strategic Plan form a coherent framework envisioned and dedicated to the remodeling and transformation of our courts into ever effective and responsible shelters for the disadvantaged, injured and injured.

“I expressly hope that GOJUST will be with us to see this vision come to fruition. “


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