Sereno rebuffed on bid to reopen regional court administration office


02:13 PM December 11th, 2012

By: Tetch Torres, December 11th, 2012 02:13 PM

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has revoked the November 27 resolution issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno allowing the reopening of the Regional Court Administration Office (RCAO).

During Tuesday’s deliberation, court insiders said the justices wanted a conduct of a thorough study first before the RCAO is opened again.

In 2008, the high court, through then Chief Justice Reynato Puno conducted a pilot test for the RCAO. The RCAO project aims to decentralize the functions of the Office of the Court Administrator to facilitate judicial operations in major regions of the country. The pilot testing failed and the plan was eventually shelved.

Last week, Senior Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro wrote a memorandum addressed to Sereno telling her to withdraw the Nov. 27 resolution saying it does not reflect the objections raised by the Court.

In her memorandum, De Castro noted the objections raised by the justices which includes the fact that the “Chief Justice has no authority to create the Judiciary Decentralized Office which under the Administrative Order shall take full responsibility over the RCAO in Region 7 which was reopened without Court en banc approval on Nov. 27, 2012.”

Taking note of the justices’ objections, De Castro said “the Chief Justice cannot deprive the high court of its constitutional duty to exercise administrative supervision over all courts and their personnel and the Office of the Court Administrator  (OCA) of its statutory duty under Presidential Decree 828 to assist the Supreme Court in the exercise of said power of administrative supervision.”

The high court justices, in Tuesday’s deliberation designated Associate Justice Jose Perez to conduct a study on whether it is viable to reopen the RCAO or not or if it will be reopened, what are the measures to impose so that it will not fail like what happened in 2008.

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