Chief Justice Gesmundo Shares SPJI to Media; Pays Tribute to Predecessors
January 30, 2023
Speaking as guest of honor, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo discussed the SPJI and paid tribute to his predecessors, the past Chief Justices, who he said “blazed the trail towards reform” which laid the foundations for the SPJI.
The SPJI is the Supreme Court’s plan of action to address institutional challenges using four guiding principles: the Judiciary’s delivery of justice will be (1) timely and fair, (2) transparent and accountable, (3) equal and inclusive, and (4) technology adaptive. Steered by these guiding principles, the Court targets three major outcomes: Efficiency, Innovation, and Access.
Chief Justice Gesmundo underscored the importance of the SPJI in reinvigorating and retooling the judicial system. He said: “The Court must consistently be proactive and continuously innovate especially at this time of greater uncertainties and challenges. In many jurisdictions, virtual courts have become the norm which has shown great improvement in terms of access to justice. Indeed, the future of the law is continuously being shaped by constantly evolving technology and we must adapt our mindset to new realities and optimize technology to improve the administration of justice.”
Chief Justice Gesmundo said that the SPJI builds on past activities to push the Judiciary forward into the future. As such, he acknowledged the judicial reforms initiated by his predecessors — Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, Chief Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-
De Castro, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, and Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
He cited Chief Justice Davide, Jr.’s Action Program for Judicial Reform 2001-2006 (APJR), which was the first structured plan for judicial reform created way back in 2001. The APJR, he said, was a truly impressive plan, from which the present Supreme Court has drawn some of its activities in the SPJI, particularly on re-engineering the entire organizational structure and operations system of the Court. He added that it was the APJR which also first broached the idea of adopting technology for court functions, as well as the need for a wider reach for public information and collaboration with civil society.
Chief Justice Gesmundo also cited Chief Justice Panganiban “for institutionalizing the perspective of law and economics as an essential element of our courts’ appreciation of certain types of disputes that come before us, through his Liberty and Prosperity Program.” He said that it was on this that the Court anchors activities in the SPJI to further strengthen the capacities of our commercial courts, as well as the intersection of functions with the nascent Philippine Competition Commission.
He referred to Chief Justice Puno as the “father of the great writs of freedom, the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data, and the great writ of nature, the Writ of Kalikasan.” He said that Chief Justice Puno also addressed the economic hardships of the underprivileged through the original Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases. The coverage of Small Claims Cases has since been expanded to claims not exceeding
P1 million while that of summary proceedings has been increased to a threshold og P2 million in the Rules on Expedited Procedures in the First Level Courts, adopted towards achieving the objective of Efficiency under the SPJI.
Chief Justice Gesmundo also cited the reforms of the other succeeding Chief Justices which will are being used as building blocks for the initiatives under the SPJI. He mentioned “the streamlined procedures in Quezon City Courts, the precursor of the Judicial Affidavit Rule, under Chief Justice Corona; the statutory Family Courts and the rules for handling Children in Conflict with the Law under Chief Justice De Castro; the Revised Law Student Practice Rule and the Mandatory Clinical Legal Education Program under the Revised Rule 138-A, as well as the 2019 Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules on Evidence through Chief Justice, now Executive Secretary, Lucas Bersamin; and to my immediate predecessor, Chief Justice Peralta (among others), we owe the Rules on Continuous Trial.”
He said that because of all these innovations, the SPJI stands on solid ground as Courts builds a more efficient, more accessible, and more ethical Judiciary.
Chief Justice Gesmundo called for support to the SPJI and stressed that SPJI’s success falls on everyone’s shoulders. He said that the call is not limited to those who serve on the Bench but “for all of us who value our continuing democracy.”
“To all of you, please place your faith in your Court and support the SPJI. I have no doubt that it is our only bridge to a tomorrow that will usher in the advent of responsive and timely justice for the Filipino people,” concluded the Chief Justice.
Joining Chief Justice Gesmundo in the MOPC Judiciary Night were Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, and Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka. (Courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)