SC: Judges Play Vital Role in Judicial Reforms and Innovations
October 17, 2023
Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, speaking on behalf of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, addresses members of Philippine Trial Judges League, Inc. (PTJLI) at the 30th Annual Convention and Seminar, Biennial Election of the PTJLI held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu City, on October 11, 2023. (Photo Courtesy of the PTJLI; Caption Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)
“Without your active involvement and participation, the reforms we are pushing for will not last; without you, they will not even take root. If the judges at the foundations of our justice system prove to be early adopters willing to embrace change and innovation, the rest of the structure—along with our people—will surely soon follow.”
Thus stressed Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez as he addressed the members of Philippine Trial Judges League, Inc. (PTJLI) on behalf of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo at the 30th Annual Convention and Seminar, Biennial Election of the PTJLI held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu City, on October 11, 2023.
In his message, delivered on the first day of the Convention, the Chief Justice emphasized the vital role of judges in the success of the Court’s blueprint for action, the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI). “Our push to bring responsive and real-time justice to our people depends on you—you who form the foundation of our justice system and serve as its frontliners,” the Chief Justice highlighted.
Chief Justice Gesmundo enumerated the projects under the SPJI that are being utilized firsthand by the lower court judges, namely: the Philippine Judiciary 365, eCourt version 2.0, Judiciary Electronic Payment Solution, and e-filing. He also took the opportunity to express the Court’s appreciation for all trial judges: “I know that on top of performing your duties, you continue to invest your time, effort, and creativity in helping us achieve the objectives of the SPJI. I know many of our trial judges are also working hard to become more technology-savvy, adopting the new tools the Court has provided in doing your day-to-day tasks. Sa inyong lahat: maraming salamat.”
Further, in line with upgrading systems and processes under the SPJI, Chief Justice Gesmundo stressed that equally important is the development and advancement of the skillsets of judges and court personnel. He revealed that the Philippine Judicial Academy Learning Management System is now fully operational, where “traditionally in-person training programs are now available online; justices, judges, court officials, and employees can now access on-demand and easily digestible courses at their own pace and convenience.”
To assist trial court judges, the Court also launched the updated and digitized Benchbook for Philippine Trial Courts, containing the updated pertinent laws, treaties, rules, regulations, jurisprudence, and the latest issuances of the Court, each of them searchable, downloadable, user-friendly, and ready for use. Consistent with the SPJI’s target outcome of Efficiency, “we hope this initiative is empowering our judges to help our efforts to expedite court decisions and unclog court dockets,” the Chief Justice expressed.
Chief Justice Gesmundo likewise shared other innovations being considered by the Court to streamline processes in first- and second-level courts, including designating Deputy Court Administrators based on specialization instead of region; appointing court managers who are experts in management and human organization, procurement, and other finance operations; uploading accessible templates for routine court orders online so they can be issued and served on litigants immediately by the end of the hearing; and unburdening our judges of administrative tasks so they can better focus on adjudication, among others.
The Chief Magistrate concluded his message with this vision: “May [this] be an occasion not just to celebrate the past, but to find and take concrete steps along the clear and feasible path charted by the SPJI towards the future we want for our justice system: one that is efficient, innovative, and accessible; one that remains relevant and responsive amid the changing times and the evolution of our nation; one that swiftly dispenses justice to all, without fear or favor.”
The PTJLI is an association of judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. The theme of this year’s convention, which ended on October 13, 2023, is “PTJLI@30: Playing a Vital Role in Judicial Reforms and Innovations.” (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)
Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez (second from left) receives a Plaque of Appreciation from Philippine Trial Judges League, Inc. (PTJLI) Officers (from left) Judge Ireneo M. Lustre, President; Judge Ana Lesa Sarsoza-Radaza, EVP; Judge Alwen Paqueo, Convention Chair/RD Reg 7; and Judge Maricel M.Magpantay-Ng, Immediate Past President, at the 30th Annual Convention and Seminar, Biennial Election of the PTJLI held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu City, on October 11, 2023. (Photo Courtesy of the PTJLI; Caption Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)