Sereno, Abad meet to resolve Judiciary’s budget row
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday met with Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad to discuss the Judiciary’s budget.
Aside from Sereno, 11 other Justices were present. Only Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Arturo Brion were absent.
This is the first time that the Budget Secretary visited the Supreme Court. In the past years, the executive and the judiciary have been bickering over budget allotment.
Abad, however, avoided the media as he opted a different entrance to the Supreme Court. He passed through the Court of Appeals and through the high court’s basement. Reporters waited waiting at the high court’s lobby.
Early this week, Abad already issued a statement that it is ready to provide budgetary support for transparency and accountability efforts by the Supreme Court, particularly with respect to digitization initiatives across the judiciary.
“We are more than willing to support the Supreme Court’s drive for increased transparency, accountability, and openness in their budgetary activities. Among many solutions, we’re proposing the digitization of the High Court’s internal processes to boost operational efficiency and allow little to no room for abuse or irregularities,” Abad said in its Sept. 2 statement.
According to Abad, one of these suggested initiatives is the creation of an online system that will publish the aging of cases and provide updated information on which sala a particular case is lodged.
“This way, anyone can check the status of their cases online and monitor the progress from there, without having to make multiple visits or phone calls to a judge’s office. In addition, it will be quicker and easier to identify which cases are taking too long to resolve, so that the judicial system can pursue measures to hasten the resolution of long-standing cases,” Abad said.
The DBM proposes the creation of an internal and integrated Human Resources (HR) and payroll management system in the Supreme Court and other government offices; the adoption of an initiative similar to the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), which will allow the judiciary to keep tabs on allocations and disbursements across the court system.
The DBM also wants the high court to maintain a more active and responsive online presence, particularly within its own website, as well as in social networks and other interaction-driven media.
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