Balanga City Justice Zone Launch

March 18, 2022

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo today spearheaded the launch  of the Balanga City Justice Zone at the “The Bunker,” the Bataan  Government Center and Business Hub, Capitol Compound, Balanga City,  Bataan. 

The Balanga City Justice Zone is the first Justice Zone to be  unveiled during the term of Chief Justice Gesmundo and the eighth in the  country. It is also the second to be launched during a pandemic, following that in Calamba City. The six other Justice Zones are in Quezon City,  Cebu City, Davao City, Angeles City, Bacolod City, and Naga City.  

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra and Interior Secretary  Eduardo M. Año, the two other principals of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC), were also in attendance. The JSCC is  composed of the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the  Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)

According to the Chief Justice, the Justice Zone, which is the  showcase program of the JSCC, “is an area where key programs relating to  the delivery of justice are in place to maximize coordination among the  different agency actors to address the perennial issue of delay and the  greater problem of accountability.” He added: “Conceptually, a Justice  Zone is the gold standard in the delivery of justice because justice is  served real time, when the people actually need it.” 

The Justice Zone Project is both a venue and a mechanism for  communication, principled cooperation, and studied coordination with  great deference to institutional independence. Through the JSCC, the  coordinated or sector approach to delivering justice is the chosen platform  to achieve real time satisfaction of justice needs. Each agency continues to  pursue its stand-alone programs and activities, while at the same time, for  activities that require the involvement of two or more agencies. The Justice  Zone project adheres to its objective of a swift and fair administration of  the criminal justice system. It is established to strengthen the coordination  and communication between the Supreme Court, DOJ, and DILG. 

Chief Justice Gesmundo said that the Supreme Court, “motivated  for a good part by the lessons learned from the pandemic,” is embarking  on a digitization campaign that will see both its adjudicative and  administrative processes running on an online platform. “The Court  acknowledges that technology is the highway to the future. We are now  building up our ICT Governance and Management Framework which will  cover our policies, processes, information flow, organizational structures,  people skills and competencies, culture, ethics and behavior, services and  applications,” he said.  

In closing, the Chief Justice urged everyone to help and support the  JSCC in attaining “our goal of achieving efficiency and accountability in  the delivery of justice through our sector or coordinated approach,” to 

regain the trust and confidence of the public and to assure a strong and  stable rule of law in the country. 

Parallel to this program, the JSCC umbrella has embarked on the  National Justice Information System, which is envisioned to open the lines  of communication digitally among the justice sector actors as information  sharing will be prioritized, subject to restrictions born of confidentiality  and other legal and ethical requirements.  

The Balanga City Justice Zone Project is supported by the JSCC and  the Bataan provincial and Balanga city local government. 

The JSCC principals – Chief Justice Gesmundo, Secretary Guevarra,  and Secretary Año – together with Balanga City Mayor Francis Anthony S.  Garcia, Bataan Governor Albert S. Garcia, and Regional Trial Court  Executive Judge Marion Jacqueline P. Poblete all committed “to support  the JSCC, the Balanga City Justice Zone, and its efforts to improve  communication, cooperation and coordination among local justice sector  actors” by signing the “Wall of Commitment.” 

Present during the launch were Supreme Court Justice Jose Midas  P. Marquez, Court of Appeals Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh, Chairperson of the JSCC TWG on Processes and Capacity Building,  Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Justice Undersecretary Nicolas Felix L. Ty, Interior  Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Francisco R. Cruz, 2nd District  Bataan Rep. Jose Enrique S. Garcia III, Deputy Court Administrator Jenny  Lind A. Delorino, Assistant Court Administrator and Supreme Court  Spokesperson Brian Keith F. Hosaka, Deputy Clerk of Court and Judicial Reform Program Administrator Laura C.H. Del Rosario, Balanga City judges, prosecutors in Bataan led by OIC Bataan Provincial Prosecutor  Mary Jane W. Sytat and Balanga City Prosecutor Oscar M. Lasam, and  representatives from the District Public Attorney’s Office, the Philippine  National Police-Bataan, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Bataan  Chapter. 

Also in attendance were CA Justices Jennifer Joy C. Ong, Michael P.  Ong, and Jose Lorenzo dela Rosa.