SAJ Leonen Shares Solar-Powered Net-Zero Hall of Justice and Other Innovative Projects Under SPJI
November 28, 2023
Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen shares the Judiciary’s future plans under the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 or the SPJI at the National Convention and Seminar and Election of Officers of the First Level Clerks of Court Association of the Philippines, Inc. (FLECCAP, INC.) held on November 22, 2023 at the La Carmela de Boracay, Boracay, Malay, Aklan. (Photo courtesy of FLECCAP, INC.)
Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen put front and center what are in store for the Judiciary under the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 or the SPJI during the National Convention and Seminar and Election of Officers of the First Level Clerks of Court Association of the Philippines, Inc. (FLECCAP, INC.) held on November 22, 2023 at the La Carmela de Boracay, Boracay, Malay, Aklan.
The Court’s blueprint of action for judicial reform, the SPJI has three targeted outcomes: Efficiency, Innovation, and Access. A year into the launch of the SPJI, Senior Associate Justice Leonen took the opportunity to highlight the up and coming projects that will directly affect the members of FLECCAP, INC.
Under Efficiency, among the projects Senior Associate Justice Leonen highlighted was the feasibility of a solar-powered net-zero Hall of Justice to help address climate change while also addressing the current problem of having to suspend work when there are power interruptions. SAJ Leonen revealed that the Halls of Justice Committee is studying solar power as a source of energy for future Halls of Justice.
He also shared the Court’s vision of having Regional Court Managers in the next few years to ensure that judges can focus more on their adjudicatory work while delegating the administrative work to the Clerks of Court. He shared that during their study visit to the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus in California, USA in May this year, they learned that a Clerk of Court in the USA was called a “Chief Executive Officer.” In his message, he boldly stated, “[i]n the future, I envision all of you as the Chief Executive Officers of your court so that your judges will only adjudicate and you will take care of everything else in order to enable an environment that will allow faster judgments and less delays in terms of adjudication.”
Senior Associate Justice Leonen, however, ensured the Clerks that the digital transformation of the Judiciary will not happen overnight but will be gradual. “Every successful move towards digitalization requires that we do it one step at a time while making sure that no one gets left behind,” he said.
He challenged all Clerks present to have change in their mindset to achieve Innovation. In line with this, he shared the commitment of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA) to offer and create programs that are aligned with the SPJI in order to upgrade the skills of all court employees. Stressing the role of the future Chief Executive Officers, he told the Clerks of Court that “you need to be able to identify the skills of your staff and therefore enjoin them into the programs of PhilJA and the Office of the Court Administrator in terms of upgrading their skills.”
Lastly, under Access, Senior Associate Justice Leonen cited how the Judiciary is now embracing gender sensitivity and elevating Shari’ah courts. He also discussed the reconfiguration of the Enhance Justice On Wheels (EJOW) Program. The EJOW bus features mobile court hearings, court-annexed mediation, and the provision of free legal, medical, and dental aid to inmates nationwide. He disclosed, however, that by early next year there will be pilot testing of the reconfigured EJOW vehicle which will go to the farthest flung places. Instead of a witness coming down the mountains, the EJOW vehicle instead will provide internet access to accommodate them via videoconferencing, serving justice real time.
In closing, Senior Associate Justice Leonen reminded the Clerks of Court to strive for excellence in order to live a life of zero regrets. He ended with a quote from Elie Wiesel, “[a]s long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.” He added, “people are suffering and under our collective watch, we should not let them down, we should not fail them.”
The National Convention was held until November 24, 2023. (Courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)
Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen poses for posterity with the Clerks of Court at the National Convention and Seminar and Election of Officers of the First Level Clerks of Court Association of the Philippines, Inc. (FLECCAP, INC.) held on November 22, 2023 at the La Carmela de Boracay, Boracay, Malay, Aklan. (Photo courtesy of FLECCAP, INC.)