Chief Justice Gesmundo Reiterates Plan for the Judiciary before Philippine Bar Association

June 18, 2021

Speaking as guest of honor during the hybrid inauguration and oath- taking ceremony of the 2020-2021 Officers, Board of Trustees, and Council of Advisers of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA), Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo today reiterated his plan to decongest the court dockets and to maximize the use of technology in order to speed up the judicial system and further promote efficiency in court processes.

Chief Justice Gesmundo shared to the lawyers’ group what the Court is doing to address the problem of docket congestion. He first bared his plans for the Judiciary when he met with the reporters covering the Supreme Court during the “SC in Focus: Towards a Technology-Driven Judiciary” event on June 11, 2021, which coincided with the Court’s 120th Anniversary celebrations.

“The Supreme Court has embarked a case decongestion program and, toward this end, amended its Internal Rules in order to be able to comply with the constitutional mandate of two years for the resolution of cases. We are also in the process of amending our Rules of Criminal Procedure in the service of arrest and search warrants. Here, we are contemplating to integrate the use by the police of body worn cameras in the implementation of warrants, with due regards of course, to the rights of persons involved,” said the Chief Justice.

Citing the use of videoconferencing in lieu of face-to-face hearings especially during this pandemic, he underscores the need towards a technology-driven Judiciary. He stressed: “In harmony with the changing times, we intend to make full use of technology to promote efficiency in our processes. With the support of the other members of the Court, I plan to set up an eCourt system to enhance court workflow processes and increase virtual access to reports. This system hopes to cover the whole process, from the filing of complaints to the promulgation and execution of judgments. I am optimistic that this program will speed up the resolution of cases in courts.”

At today’s event, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo administered  the oath of office to the 2020-2021 Officers, Board of Trustees, and Council of Advisers of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) during the hybrid event at the SC En Banc Session Hall. All those present in the Session Hall were required to undergo antigen swab testing hours before the event.

The 2020-2021 PBA officers are: Rico V. Domingo, President; Joel Raymond R. Ayson, 1st Vice President; Rachelle Aileen S. Santos, 2nd Vice President; Peter Irving C. Corvera, 3rd Vice President; Rodolfo A. Gamboa, VP for Administration & Finance; Ernestine Carmen Jo D. Villareal-Fernando, Treasurer; and Ian Ray P. Malilong, Secretary.

The Board of Trustees are Mariano Jesus S. Averia, Joel Raymond R. Ayson, Chrysilla Carissa P. Bautista, Peter Irving C. Corvera, Rico V. Domingo, Ernestine C. J. D. Villareal-Fernando, Maria Teresita Geraldine C. Sison Go, Nicanor B. Jimeno, Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla, Ian Ray P. Malilong, Victor Emmanuel M. Pangilinan, Joseph Manolo R. Rebano, Angel M. Salita, Jr., Rachelle Aileen S. Santos, and Fina Bernadette A. Dela Cuesta-Tantuico.

The Council of Advisers are Avelino J. Cruz, Jr., Rodel A. Cruz, Rolando

P. De La Cuesta, Ruben O. Fruto, Llewellyn L. Llanillo, and Antonio R. Velicaria.

Also during the event, the PBA and the New York State Bar Association International Section also signed a Memorandum of Understanding where both parties agreed to recognize “common interests and goals.” Among others, both expressed their desire to “strengthen their cooperation in promoting mutual respect and exchange between lawyers in both countries and the exchange of legal information and materials” and to recognize “their mutual support for the Rule of Law and the development of legal research work throughout the world.”

Celebrating its 130th year, the PBA is the oldest voluntary national organization of lawyers in the Philippines founded in 1891. ###