Speaker seeks abolition of Court of Appeals under federal setup
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants the Court of Appeals (CA) to be abolished under a federal form of government, proposing measures to ensure that cases are quickly disposed of and justice given to those who seek it.
Speaking before a conference on judicial reforms organized by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Manila, Alvarez said the judiciary should help in improving lives as the country moved to shift to federalism.
But the present situation in which it takes decades for cases to be resolved at the trial level is not acceptable, Alvarez said.
“I propose that the CA, unless it can speedily resolve cases brought to it and in other words, unless it can be shown that it facilitates rather than delays the speedy disposition of justice, be abolished,” he said.
More trial courts
The House leader proposed instead to increase the number of trial courts in proportion to the population to resolve particular cases.
“Without a CA, for example, what remedy does a litigant have against a corrupt trial court judge? To balance the slant of power in their favor, I propose stricter legislation to curb corruption within the ranks of the judiciary,” he said.
Alvarez told reporters that his proposal to abolish the CA under a federal government was meant to speed up the delivery of justice.
He expressed concern that the justice system had many layers, noting that cases go through the Municipal Trial Courts, Regional Trial Courts, the CA and then the Supreme Court.
In most instances, cases in the lower courts take a decade to be resolved, he said.
These cases take around five years to be resolved at the CA and another five years in the high court.
He pushed for the creation of special courts to handle civil and criminal cases, and for the holding of marathon hearings to avoid “delaying tactics of lawyers.”
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who was the keynote speaker at the forum, said the CA could be retained or removed under a federal form of government.
But Puno told reporters that anyway, under a federal government, “there will be a great deal of dispersal of cases and hopefully this will result in the more speedy disposition of cases.”
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