Sereno seeks more budget for Judiciary reforms
MANILA, Philippines—Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno urged the government to support the Judiciary in its reform efforts and speed up trial system in the country.
Sereno made the appeal Wednesday during the launching of the Continuous Trial System in Criminal Cases.
The high court has been the subject of criticism by President Benigno Aquino III since it declared as unconstitutional the Disbursement Acceleration Program last July.
The decision was cited by Aquino as one example of the judicial overreach and meddling as he voiced support to amend the 1987 Constitution to clip the powers of the Judiciary.
But Sereno in her Wednesday’s speech said it is not about the Supreme Court or its justices.
“This is not about us at all. This is all about the men and women whose lives you are helping by making sure that the judicial system aids them in seeking redress for their grievances and it is not seen as an obstacle to their pursuit of happiness,” Sereno said.
“We are enablers. We are not obstructionist. This is about human lives being made better,” she said.
For the continuous trial system in criminal cases, Sereno said there would be 26 volunteer judges that will test the system. The judges will have 10 cases each, which will be subject to the system.
The continuous trial system is a system that once commenced, shall continue from day to day as far as practicable until terminated.
“I don’t see why we cannot move our system from a system characterized by delay into one that is modern because it is marked by the feature of continuous conduct of trials,” Sereno said in her speech.
Sereno added that the high court is also in the process of procuring P40 million worth of computers and printers.
“We are asking more budget from the national government because we intend to really supply our judges will all the computer enablements that we can,” Sereno said.
Sereno said they intend to expand the reforms in a nationwide basis but they are being hampered by budget problems.
The high court has requested funding for the eCourt system which Sereno said would speed up resolution of cases. The high court’s budget proposal reflects the following items—P350 million for trial courts’ IT infrastructure, P250 million for network security and connectivity and P175 million for enterprise information systems plan or EISP.
The high court also asked for additional P70 million for the procurement of computers for data storage in the Hall of Justice in Angeles City and another P46.3 million for small claims case monitoring.