JSCC Holds Justice Zone Dialogue in Davao
October 24, 2022
The Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC), led by Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, conducts the second leg of the Justice Zone Dialogue series in dusitD2 Davao Hotel in Davao City on October 24, 2022. With him are (left) Interior Secretary Interior Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. and Justice Undersecretary Raul T. Vasquez. (Courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)
The Supreme Court Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022- 2027 (SPJI) will be aligned and will complement the development plans under the Justice Zone Project of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC).
This was disclosed by Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, one of the principals of the JSCC, during the second leg of the Justice Zone Dialogue series held in dusitD2 Davao Hotel in Davao City earlier today.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) comprise the JSCC.
“Today, we are provided with the opportunity to align and to complement the range of various plans such as the Judiciary’s SPJI, the respective development plans of the DOJ and DILG, and the new Philippine Development Plan for 2023-2028. Here in Davao City, the imperative and challenge for the Justice Zone is to find its niche in the local development plan of the city, as it has in its hands the dispensation of justice services in this locality,” said Chief Justice Gesmundo as he encouraged anew all the stakeholders to take part in the Supreme Court’s Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027.
The Chief Justice stressed that the dialogue “comes at a very favorable time—when the continuing process to further develop and fine tune the coordinative and administrative structures of our justice zones, as well as our communication protocols and reporting mechanisms in relation to the JSCC, the policy-making and senior management body for justice sector coordination. As most, if not all of us, are aware, all of the nine justice zones have just completed the latest round of capacity building interventions to improve the planning and development of justice zone-specific projects and initiatives.” He added that one of the key areas being addressed by the JSCC is the close coordination of the three principal offices.
The Chief Justice gave the Davao City Justice Zone stakeholders an overview of the SPJI, a plan anchored on four guiding principles: Timely and Fair Justice, Transparent and Accountable Justice, Equal and Inclusive Justice, and Technologically Adaptive Management. The said principles will guide the Philippine Judiciary in achieving three outcomes: Efficiency, Innovation, and Access.
The SPJI will help review and assess the organizational structure and operations of the various offices of the Judiciary, and to develop and establish an information and communication technology infrastructure for the Philippine Judiciary.
One of the existing judicial reform projects of the Judiciary using technology is the conduct of the videoconferencing hearings (VCH).
Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez gave an update on the VCH, saying that: “As of October 13, 2022, there have been 1,139,720 videoconferencing hearings conducted with a success rate of 89.27%. We likewise released 132,916 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), 2,120 of which are children in conflict with the law, because of videoconferencing hearings.” Justice Marquez added that the conduct of the videoconferencing hearings has been in placed even before the start of the pandemic.
The Chief Justice was joined by Interior Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. and Justice Undersecretary Raul T. Vasquez.
Both DILG Secretary Abalos, Jr. and DOJ Undersecretary Vasquez expressed support for the Court’s undertaking as they agreed to the use of technology in enhancing the services of the JSCC.
Also present were Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, and Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh.
Court of Appeals Justices Michael P. Ong and Rex Bernardo L. Pascual, Sandiganbayan Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega, Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka, and Deputy Clerk of Court and Judicial Reform Program Administrator Laura C. H. del Rosario also attended the dialogue with the Davao City Justice Zone stakeholders, which include trial court judges and prosecutors from Davao. European Union Governance in Justice Programme (GOJUST Programme) Access to Justice Senior Adviser Atty. Hector D. Soliman represented the EU GOJUST Programme, the development partner of JSCC in the Justice Zone Dialogue Series.
Davao City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Emmanuel C. Carpio, for his part, shared the plan activities of the Davao Justice Zone which include, among others, the reduction of trial court dockets in Davao City, reduction of jail facility populations, improvement of the re integration of the PDLs.
The first leg of the Justice Zone dialogue series was held in Cebu City last September.
The face-to-face dialogues among the justice sector stakeholders aims to ensure that the existing Justice Zones will be able to maximize their potential and continue to be effective mechanisms for coordination and cooperation.
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 among the principal agencies of the JSCC by serving as a venue and a mechanism for communication, principled cooperation, and studied coordination with great deference to institutional independence.
Aside from Davao City, there are eight other Justice Zones nationwide—Quezon City, Cebu City, Angeles City, Bacolod City, Naga City, Calamba City, Balanga City, and Baguio City. The Justice Zones in Balanga City and Baguio City were inaugurated during the term of Chief Justice Gesmundo.
The Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) principals — Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo with (third from left) Interior Secretary Interior Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. and (third from right) Justice Undersecretary Raul T. Vasquez pose for posterity with the other Members of the Supreme Court (from left) Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, and Justice Filomena D. Singh during the second leg of the Justice Zone Dialogue series held on October 24, 2022 in dusitD2 Davao Hotel in Davao City. (Courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)
The Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC), led by Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, conducts the second leg of the Justice Zone Dialogue series in dusitD2 Davao Hotel in Davao City on October 24, 2022. (Courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)