QC CHOSEN AS PILOT AREA

Sereno: ‘e-Court’ to enhance transparency in justice system

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SERENO

Checking the status of court cases in Quezon City is now as easy as a click or two.

The Quezon City Hall of Justice on Friday launched the “e-Court” or electronic court system which aims to speed up the assignment and verification of cases, while eliminating possible sources of corruption.

Leading the inaugural rites, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno explained that with the electronic raffle, for example, “human intermediation” will now be removed from the process by which cases are assigned to trial court judges.

“So all of those rumors circulating—that money is being made from the system that way, that fees are set and collected—are also gone,” the chief magistrate said.

The city’s regional and metropolitan trial courts were a chosen as pilot areas for the project. Also gracing the occasion were Justice Teresita de Castro, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, Executive Judge Fernando Sagun and other Quezon City judges.

Sereno added: “Quezon City will no longer be a source of collection of court fees. This is not only a major challenge in your ability to handle technology. Quezon City courts are waiting to be transparent and aboveboard. In other words, you are willing to put the seal of transparency  and good governance on the courts.”

She said the new system would help erase perceptions that “money is leaking in the court system” because the cases will now be raffled off electronically and the fees will to be determined by the system.

Apart from the e-Court project, the Chief Justice said, the high tribunal also plans to computerize the notification system for litigants and lawyers regarding court schedules and subpoenas, and start the digital archiving and retrieval system for court records.

Quezon City Judge Bernelito Fernandez said the new system could help the public monitor the status of cases more closely. An e-Court kiosk will be set up for this purpose.

“The e-Court system will provide quality justice within reasonable time. There will be instantaneous information retrieval for judges and court personnel,” he added.

The electronic raffle will also guarantee the random assignment of cases to judges, Fernandez said.

Sereno lauded the court employees for their efforts in encoding the voluminous case records.

She also demonstrated the use of the e-Court kiosk by making a few clicks to retrieve records of cases involving prominent personalities, like broadcaster Erwin Tulfo and former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Chair Manuel Morato.

Before Friday’s launch, the Quezon City courts conducted a month-long dry run to test the e-Court system’s accuracy and security features.

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