October 16, 2006
was a commemorative day for the Philippine Judiciary, as it marked
the 2nd Anniversary of the Court of Appeals Cebu Station.
Not at all adhering to the notorious terrible twos syndrome, the Cebu
Station rather, has quite a handful to be festive about. Much
acclaimed for its speedy, just and equitable disposition of cases and
intense dedication to public service, the Cebu Station highlighted
the affair with a joyful yet very simple and low-key celebration.
The day started with a Flag-Raising
Ceremony, followed shortly by a Holy Mass officiated by Most Rev.
Julito B. Cortes, D.D. Thereafter, breakfast was served to energize
everyone for the enjoyable and entertaining program ahead. The large
turn-out of distinguished guests made the occasion even more special.
CA Presiding Justice Ruben T. Reyes, Court Administrator Christopher
O. Lock, CA Associate Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando, then CA Cebu
E.J. Mercedes Gozo-Dadole, CA Clerk of Court Atty. Tessie Gatmaitan,
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu Vice-Mayor Michael V. Rama, Cebu
Provincial Board Member Agnes A. Magpale, judges from the Cebu RTC
and MTC, IBP Cebu Province Chapter Pres. Ronnie C. Gocuan and Cebu
City Chapter Pres. Alex D. Tolentino, graced the event with their
presence. Then Justices of the CA Cebu Station, Justices Elvi John
S. Asuncion, Sesinando E. Villon and Ramon M. Bato who now are based
in CA Manila, also attended.
Welcome to the men and women of the Cebu
Station Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s Message proved to
be most heartening, proclaiming that the Supreme Court in its En Banc
Session dated October 10, 2006 already approved the construction of
the CA Cebu Building. Thus, P70 million has been set aside from the
SC Judiciary Development Fund for the purpose, plus P5.2 million for
engineering and architectural designs. The news was met with extreme
excitement and relief from CA Cebu employees who have been
intermittently agitated by news of relocation to CA Manila, on
grounds of budgetary constraints. The fresh wave of optimism became
even more effusive when CA Justice Remedios Fernando took the floor
and categorically stated that it is well-nigh improbable that the
Cebu and Cagayan de Oro Stations will be brought back to Manila,
because the installation of said stations was mandated by law.
Logically, relocation to Manila should also be caused by legislation,
and nothing else. “There is no truth to rumors that our Cebu
and Mindanao stations will be abolished,” she said.
Decentralization of the Court of Appeals
likewise commands strong support from the province of Cebu. In her
speech, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia declared, “We demanded not that
the judicial system be fashioned after our own whims and preferences,
but that it reflect the reality of seeking justice in these 7,107
islands. We stated as a matter of fact that Metro Manila is not the
Philippines and the Philippines is not just Metro Manila.”
As early as last year, the Province of
Cebu had already donated a 2,011 square meter tract of land more or
less located inside the Department of Agriculture compound, upon
which the CA Cebu Building is to be erected. As a matter of fact, a
ground-breaking ceremony has been conducted upon the same with the
attendance of the then C.J. Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and several other
Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals on October
In his Message read by J. Pampio A.
Abarintos, C.J. Panganiban announced that another ceremony should be
undertaken on November 24, 2006, to mark the construction of the new
building. “This will not be an exercise in duplication.
Rather, it is a manifestation of commitment from your Supreme Court
that We mean business when it comes to providing you with a
well-earned edifice of justice suitable for no less than the second
highest court of the land,” the Chief Justice wrote.
Raising the gala spirit even higher,
Court Administrator Christopher O. Lock rendered a report which gave
the tentative schedule for the building construction.
Transitorily, the CA Cebu Station is
leasing Midway Building, Salvador Ext., Labangon, Cebu City. With a
distinctive structure suitable to the second highest court of the
land well under way for CA Cebu, the High Court has finally stamped a
more permanent and lasting imprimatur upon the implementation of R.A.
No. 8246, the law which created the CA Cebu and Cagayan de Oro
In return, the CA Cebu Station made
assurances that it will exert all salutary efforts to sustain its
inspiringly impressive track record. CA Presiding Justice Ruben T.
Reyes stated that the Cebu Station outdid all other CA Stations.
“They have gone beyond the agreed 12 decisions in a month. It
has crossed the borderline of number of cases disposed. We commend
Cebu for far exceeding our expectations,” he said. Most
importantly, the immense quantity of case dispositions did not
sacrifice quality in the administration of justice. P.J. Reyes, who
declared that he did not receive even a single complaint emanating
from grievances from the Cebu Station continued to state, “The
individual performance of justices here in judicial writings and
resolution of cases far outnumbered those from Manila and in
Mindanao.” Work ethics played a significant role, and he
lauded, “The first batch led by (Arsenio) Magpale, (Isaias)
Dicdican and (Pampio) Abarintos set the trend and the others followed
in terms of disposing cases. We are pleased with the diligence and
After the morning program, CA Cebu
employees spent the afternoon momentarily shedding their formal
office demeanor by playing parlor games. For the more athletic ones,
a Sportsfest which began a week earlier, culminated in the
championship matches in chess, badminton and volleyball.
In retrospect, the CA Cebu Station 2nd
Anniversary was a celebration “in the most simple of ways”
in the words of its Executive Justice Arsenio J. Magpale, who said,
“Our joys and accomplishments are not ours alone, as every
crucible the government hurdles is a triumph of each and every
Filipino. After two fruitful years of operation, I invite everyone
to walk the beaten path and move forward. Though nothing is certain
except death, change and taxes, I am deeply optimistic that two years
will soon become twenty, two hundred, two centuries … ad
infinitum. In the final analysis, We all are humble
participants in the grand design of posterity and heritage in the
Philippine Judiciary. And that, my friends, is a supreme privilege
all by itself.”
Without a doubt, it was truly a
successful festivity. Nothing, not even the inclement weather,
dampened the joie de vivre. This simply goes to show that
when it rains, it really does pour.
Warm congratulations to the CA Cebu