Court backlog solution keeps rolling on, reaches Pampanga
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—Mobile courts mounted on eight buses that go around the country have helped in the release of 5,157 inmates and resolution of more than 12,000 cases through mediation from December 2008 to December last year, a Supreme Court official said here on Thursday.
More buses are needed for the high court’s Enhanced Justice on Wheels (Ejow) program to help speed up the disposition of some 600,000 cases pending in lower courts, Supreme Court spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said at the launch of Ejow in Pampanga.
In a speech in February, Chief Justice Renato Corona said Ejow had provided medical services to 10,073 inmates, legal aid to 2,514 prisoners and held lectures for 14,980 barangay officials and policemen in the last two years.
Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao said the provincial government, possibly in coordination with the city government of San Fernando, could pool funds to buy a bus for the program. The provincial jail houses 707 detainees, 80 of them women.
Sarangani province had donated a bus to the program, Marquez said.
A mobile court has a presiding judge, clerk of court, prosecutor, public attorney, stenographer, docket clerk, process server, driver and security guard.
The Ejow in Pampanga was scheduled to hear 70 cases, said Executive Judge Serafin David of the Regional Trial Court in San Fernando. It has eight branches.
For the occasion, Carlos Flores wore a red rosary around his neck and emerged jubilant as he stepped out of the bus. After the hearing, the judge acquitted him from an attempted murder case. Flores, 29, spent three years and seven months in jail.
“Almost four years of my life were wasted. I thank the Supreme Court. I want to start anew, sell food in our village,” Flores told the Inquirer.
David said lectures under Ejow covered the barangay protection order under the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, rule of procedure for small claims cases, land ownership conflicts and remedies and environmental protection and preservation. He said these lectures aim to strengthen peace councils at the village level.
Resource persons are from the Supreme Court and Philippine Justice Academy.
Marquez, also court administrator of the high tribunal, held a dialogue with court employees whose concerns include salary increase, professional advancement and additional facilities.
Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. began the program of bringing justice to the grassroots after seeing how it was done during his visit in Guatemala in 2003, court records showed. <strong><em>Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon </em></strong>