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In an annual ceremony dating back to 1991, the Judiciary honors four of its own in the 2014 Judicial Excellence Awards spearheaded by the Society for Judicial Excellence (SJE). The ceremonies are to be held on October 24, 2014 at 4 p.m., tomorrow at the Maynila Room, The Manila Hotel. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is expected to be present and to give a Message.
This year's winners, selected from nominees nationwide, are Judge Angelene Mary W. Quimpo-Sale of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 106 as the Chief Justice Cayetano Awardee for Outstanding Second-Level Court Judge; Judge Phoeve C. Meer of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 17 as Outstanding First Level Court Judge Awardee; Branch Clerk of Court Dara SJ. Mallorca-Tormes, RTC of Camarines Sur, Branch 57 as Outstanding Clerk of Court, Multi-Sala Court, Second Level Court; and Clerk of Court III Lea B. Tablarin of the Manila MeTC, Branch 28 as Outstanding Clerk of Court, Multi-Sala Court, First Level Court.
Advocate for Judicial Reform and Children
One of a select few who have won both Excellence awards for judges, Judge Quimpo-Sale, this years Arellano awardee had previously been feted as Outstanding Trial Court Judge for First Level Courts in 2006 by the SJE.
Judge Quimpo-Sale has significantly contributed to judicial reform. She was a member of the Technical Working Group that drafted the Rules of Procedure for Small Claims Cases. As a representative of the Judiciary and a family court judge, Judge Quimpo-Sale is an active member of the Quezon City Council for the Protection of Children and has given lectures before the 142 barangays of Quezon City, specifically on the topics of Children in Conflict with the Law, court diversion procedure, and the principle of restorative justice under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.
In August 2014, the Court appointed her as a member of the newly created Committee on Family Courts and Juvenile Concerns with the express mandate of fully implementing the provisions of the Family Courts Act of 1997. At present, Judge Quimpo-Sale’s branch is a pilot court of several projects of the Court, foremost of which is the Automated Hearing System—a feature of the Supreme Court’s eCourt Project—and the Continuous Trial System for Criminal Cases project.
Champion of JDR
Judge Meer, for her part, is a recognized champion of the benefits of Judicial Dispute Resolution, resulting in the decrease in the number of cases that clog the dockets of the Judiciary.
As the Presiding Judge of Branch 17 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of the City of Manila, Judge Meer consistently decides cases within the prescribed period while encouraging her staff to ensure the effective and prompt dispatch of court matters. Judge Meer has also devised and adopted an efficient recording and filing system that enables her to monitor cases promptly and manage their speedy and timely disposition of cases in her sala.
The SJE also recognized two outstanding clerks of court, Atty. Dara SJ. Mallorca-Tormes, Regional Trial Court, Branch 57, Libmanan, Camarines Sur; and Ms. Lea B. Tablarin, Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 28, both of whom have been cited by the Judges they work with as dedicated, diligent, hardworking and honest.
The annual search started in 1991, in the aftermath of Martial law, with a small group of concerned citizens, led by Atty. Jose Feria, Banker Xavier Loinaz, Atty. Santiago Dumlao, Jr., Atty. Ricardo Romulo, Mr. Luis Sison and Mr. Jaime Cura, who dared to dream of restoring the image of the judiciary. This gave rise to the Foundation for Judicial Excellence. Tasked with honoring the judges, public prosecutors and public attorneys who stood head and shoulders above the rest of the field, the Foundation awarded 81 outstanding public servants between the years 1991 and 2002..
In 2003, the Foundation for Judicial Excellence bowed out of existence but the Supreme Court continued the search by creating the Committee on Judicial Excellence. The search was now limited to judges and clerks of court. The Committee institutionalized its own awards program, taking its bearings from the framework established by the Foundation.
In 2005, the functions of the Committee on Judicial Excellence were turned over to the Society for Judicial Excellence which currently administers the annual Search. Envisioned as a peer body, the Society for Judicial Excellence is composed exclusively of Judicial Excellence Awardees. Its governing body is the Board of Trustees, whose members are elected during the Society’s annual assembly.
The Awards for Most Outstanding Judges are endowed by and named after distinguished Chief Justices, whose families continue the pursuit of excellence started by these pioneers in the vineyard of justice.This year’s Board of Judges was led by SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, with retired SC Justice Bernardo P. Pardo as Vice-Chair and SC Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, retired SC Associate Justices Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Adolfo S. Azcuna, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez and retired Court of Appeals Justice Aurora Santiago Lagman and Atty. Ma. Milagros N. Fernan-Cayosa as members.