Give Us This Day special guest, Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, shed light on one of the most criticized and most vilified systems in Philippine government today – the Philippine Judicial System.
In a frank and open discussion with Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, the program’s host, and a noteworthy panel including Kingdom lawyer, Atty. Lady Jade Canada, JMC College of Law Dean, Atty. Israelito Torreon, and one of the Kingdom’s most valued consultants, Ret. General Lisandro Suerte, Justice Marquez demonstrated that the highest court of the land is not blind or indifferent to the challenges and problems facing the judicial system.
He also determined that the Supreme Court does address those problems, albeit in “band aid solutions” that are both imperative and effective.
The Problem of Slow Litigation
Having supervision of over 2,600 judges and 25,000 court personnel across the country, and having jurisdiction over the smooth operation of all the courts of the land, Justice Marquez admitted that the biggest “evil” of the current judicial system is the delay in the resolution of court cases.
He said that this is largely due to over-congested and overburdened lower courts. He cited Regional Trial Courts that should carry only 500 cases are carrying case loads of as much as 2,000 – 3,000 cases a year, which makes it “physically impossible” for the judge or the court to address it all.
Justice Marquez acknowledged that the institutional remedy to the problem is, of course, for the country to create more courts.
However, he admitted that the process of organizing new courts is long and tedious. It involves legislation by congress, enactment of the bill into law by the president, budget allocation that alone takes 2-3 years for approval, and finally, the staffing of the newly created court, which is another arduous process in itself.
“So in the meantime, it is distressing for the litigants because they will have to wait,” says Marquez, “And it is made even worst in criminal cases when a detention prisoner is involved because he or she will languish in jail.”
The court administrator said that a case can drag on to up to 5 years in court.
“But the problems have to be addressed while we wait for the creation of new courts because we cannot just allow our inmates to languish in jail,” said Marquez.
He said that to mitigate the problem, the Court is implementing various “interventions”.
Speeding up cases in the Lower Courts
Among the many “interventions” the Judiciary is executing is the Continuous Trial of Criminal Cases rule, which began implementation in September 2017.
Under the rule, the Court has eliminated all causes of delay, including all motions for postponement, and have set a period of about a year for the judge to resolve the case in his court.
Marquez says that though the program is still under monitoring, some courts are already able to comply with the guidelines.
Another interesting intervention that the justice presented is the 9-year old Justice on Wheels Program which currently comprises 10 buses that go around the most far-flung areas of the country where there is a lack of courts or a lack of judges, or to areas where the list of cases, called a docket, are very high.
Among the goals of the Justice on Wheels Program are jail and court decongestion wherein criminal cases and civil cases must be heard, resolved, and settled within the day, and inmates released.
Another is the judicial education of barangay officials. These officials, says Marquez, are made aware of their duties, responsibilities and authorities so that when they return to their respective areas of responsibility, they can already settle minor disputes within their level.
Marquez claims that since the program began it has settled some 10,000 civil cases and released some 10,000 inmates from the judicial system.
Public Service on Give Us This Day
At the end of the program, Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy bestowed his Kingdom blessings upon Justice Midas Marquez, his family, and all of his endeavors so that he may have success and be of benefit to the greater number of Filipinos.
Pastor Apollo also said that his Give Us this Day program every Wednesday will be dedicated to public service where topics of concern to Filipinos would be discussed with notable guests like Justice Midas Marquez.