Today is Monday, May 21, 2018

All Wired Up

by: Anna Patricia R. Del Castillo

It’s the second millennium and man has learned to harness and reap the energy of the earth. We have created a few things along the way as well. We have computers and wireless networks, cars and airplanes, cellphones and PDAs. In this age of information and technology, man can have whatever he needs at the push of a button. Of course, our Courts of Justice are not going to be left behind. There have been recent measures to upgrade our information technology systems and resource systems management to ensure that justice will be served whenever, wherever.

Digital Revolution

The days when rooms in the CA are filled with stacks and stacks of pleadings and other papers will be forgotten as the tedious manual systems of information processing are now being converted into computerized systems. Part of this digital revolution is the upgrading of the Court of Appeals Intranet. Since 2003, the Intranet has been redesigned to include the Personnel Information System (PIS), Hearing Room Reservation System (HRRS), the Case Status Monitoring System (CIS) and the CA Decision and Resolution Information System (CaDRIS).

CA Case Management Information System

A project that is generating much excitement in the CA is called the Case Management Information System (CA-CMIS) where cases can be managed under a computerized system that is more efficient and more economical.

Under the CA-CMIS, there will be a new Case Status Monitoring System, or an administration system through which cases can be tracked and monitored the moment they are filed. Through this, a user can monitor cases from the moment of filing up to final disposition - for example, he may verify the status of the case, the pendency of an incident, and the division to which a particular case is assigned.

A One-Stop Processing Center/Information Kiosk will be put up near the Court of Appeals guardhouse. This will have touch screen computers available to the verifying public. No longer will a litigant have to scramble through the entire CA Centennial Building researching about the status of his case. The One-Stop Processing Center will make this information available with ease and efficiency.

There are also plans for the CA-CMIS to expand and include electronic filing, electronic payment and electronic raffling. Thus, a case can be filed on-line by a party, or cases can be raffled digitally, without the need of a personal watcher.

The CA-CMIS has been made possible by a grant from the USAID. As part of the package, the USAID also organized a tour for the Ad-hoc Committee of the Court of Appeals CMIS on March 12-23, 2007. The Ad Hoc Committee was sent to the United States to observe Courts where advanced case management systems are being operated: to the Court of the Future in Pennsylvania, and to the Courts of Arizona, Maryland and Washington, to name a few.

Currently, we are developing the required software needed for the envisioned system. Chairman of the Committee on Computerization, Justice Andres B. Reyes Jr., says that by January-February of next year, we will have completed the first step of the new CA-CMIS.

Hopefully, this will coincide with the implementation of the enhanced case flow management system of the SC MIS that is being developed separately.

Upgrading the Intranet

There are plans for the integration of similar systems among the Courts under the LOT A project, or “Supply, Installation and Commissioning of the Judiciary Data Center and ICT Infrastructure Development,” that will allow the Supreme Court, the CA, the CTA, the Sandiganbayan and lower courts to share files through a common data infrastructure. Currently, there is only one computer per Court of Appeals Justice that is intranet capable. The LOT A project intends to increase this to facilitate the networking of all personal computers in the CA, and also in the other Courts.

Decisions on the Internet

With all these innovations in information technology, it wasn’t long before when proposals were made to make cases and other resources of the courts more accessible to the public. In 2004, a SC Memorandum was signed by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. requiring the mandatory publication of all promulgated decisions and resolutions of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals in the SC website.

In the CA, all Decisions and Resolutions are uploaded to the CaDRIS (or the CA Decisions and Resolutions Systems) and to the CA website. The CA Library also submits these Decisions and Resolutions to the SC library for formatting and publication in the E-library, making them available in the web.

And finally, the E-Library

The E-library is a web-based judicial data center officially launched on November 19, 2004. The E-library boasts of a powerful search engine that allows the user to retrieve full texts of legal materials, from laws and jurisprudence, to other references and memorabilia. A user may browse these legal materials by word, phrase, case title, case number, name of justice, number of statute, even by name of the parties, or name of the proponent justices.

This is accessible through the internet, and is also available in CD. This means that Courts stationed in remote areas can access the E-library by logging in to the Supreme Court website, or conduct research using the CD. Currently, the digital library is accessible only to Justices, Judges and their Clerks of Court, but Chief of Office of SC’s Library Division, Director Milagros S. Ong, says it shall be available for subscription in the near future.

Our Courts have begun the process of restructuring information and resource systems technology to meet the demands of the digital age, guaranteeing access to justice in a quicker and easier way for the public, and less manual work for the employees. It’s been a long time since occurrences here have been called revolutionary.

For more information, check out the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals websites at:

(Special thanks to Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr., Mr. Edwin Ligot, SC Chief Judicial Staff Officer, Ms. Milagros S. Ong and Ms. Sheryll T. De Guzman)

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