Mobile courts keep rolling

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INSIDE a mobile court that made a stop in Lucena City as part of the Supreme Court’s Justice on Wheels program. DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

LUCENA CITY—At least 16,000 cases that are clogging courts nationwide have been resolved by a program that brings mobile courts outside urban areas to conduct brief trials or initiate settlements aimed at making the wheels of justice move faster, according to a Supreme Court official.

Midas Marquez, administrator of the Supreme Court, said the number of cases resolved since the program started in 2007 showed the effectiveness of the Justice on Wheels project of the Supreme Court.

“It only means that these cases will no longer add to the list of pending cases in regional trial courts and the Court of Appeals,” Marquez told reporters Friday during the second leg of the mobile court program here.

Marquez said the success of the Justice on Wheels program is largely due to the support of local government units across the country.

Through the program, at least 34 inmates detained unnecessarily over pending cases have been released in Quezon alone.

After a program held in front of the Regional Trial Court building here yesterday, Marquez and local officials watched a court hearing inside one of two air-conditioned mobile courts, which are actually buses retrofitted to serve as courts.

Marquez said nine mobile courts buses have traveled the country to help reduce the load of courts.

Each bus modified into mobile courts has two sections. The front section serves as the courtroom while in the rear is the mediation room.

Prisoners in orange jail uniforms were seated outside the mobile court as their cases were being heard in the buses.

Many of the inmates received free legal assistance. Vicente Joyas, lawyer and national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), urged all lawyers to heed the IBP program for lawyers to render free legal services to indigent inmates.

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