Today is Sunday, September 23, 2018

Let's Volt In

By Atty. Josefina G. San Juan-Torres

Interactivity is evolving and community is one thread that weaves through the new incarnation of the new internet to include official transactions on-line including the speedy delivery of justice.

Bygone are the days where silent movies and sounds from reels dictated our lifestyle at home and after work. Now weaving its way into our halls of justice is a new breed of judicial services through information technology.

Waiting on its wings this year is the eventual take off on line of the Court of Appeals Case Management Information System (CA-CMIS).

This project is expected to provide expeditious resolution of cases through effective monitoring and strict compliance of time limits in the conduct of case event from filing to disposition.

Realizing the need to improve the delivery of judicial services through an efficient public information system and to enhance the collaboration with civil society by strengthening its capacity to manage well its organizational operations, the Court of Appeals empowers its own people to step up to the challenge of getting into the cyber groove. By then, the CA throws its hat into the e-justice arena and be in the loop of interactive repartee of the judicial global cyberspace.

Perhaps in a few months time or in less than a year, it wouldn’t be surprising that a taxpayer netizen would spend his time and effort surfing up to the CA website to check up the case status where one can see the real deal ( in a manner of speaking) in real time?

Definitely the CA-CMIS will be a notch higher than the present CA intranet system.

To conclude, we should recognize that getting into cyberspace through the CA-CMIS forms part of the Judiciary’s mandate of providing a speedy, fair and impartial administration of justice in a manner that enhances its transparency, accountability, and independence—undoubtedly a boon for the public. However, only if each stakeholder takes its responsibility will it be possible to transform the vision into a reality.

All of us have a role to play in making sure that words become real action. There may be glitches and delay in getting used to a 3G (third generation) digitized work culture. It will take time and effort to create a paperless court environment and to empower our personnel to work with electronic documents instead of having to deal with tons of paper everyday. Technology is never perfect immediately and we will have to undergo continual improvement and refinement. An automated caseflow system is just a piece of the entire e-justice puzzle but we have to start offering it at some point. Let’s be proud that our Court is taking this initiative.

It’s all systems go for the CA-CMIS so let’s all volt in! MILESTONES OF THE CA-CMIS PROJECT:

October 13, 2006 – CA-CMIS Project Team was informally constituted with Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. (also Chairman of the Committee on Computerization) as Over-All Chairman.

December 18, 2006 – Initial Consultation Talks between the CA – CMIS Project Team with the Chief of Party of the Rule of Law Effectiveness (ROLE-USAID).

January 15, 2007 – Project Scoping Workshop. The Chairmen of the different divisions, their Division Clerks of Court and heads of offices of support offices of the Court gathered together for a whole day cooping workshop identifying problems in case flow operations that hamper the Court’s efficiency and credibility in its overall case disposition as well as process mapping of the Court’s case flow system based on existing rules of procedure and actual practice.

March 5 to 7, 2007 – Strategic Planning Workshop. The results of the Project Scoping Workshop were further discussed in detail during this 3-day activity which was participated in by the CMIS Project Team and other concerned chiefs of offices of the Court.

March 2007 – US Study Tour. ROLE sponsored a study tour for four (4) CA Justices. The group was led by Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. (Chair on the Committee on Computerization), together with Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. (Co-chair of the Committee on Computerization) , Justice Isaias P. Dicdican (CA- Cebu) and Justice Edgardo A. Camello (CA-Cagayan de Oro). The group was given an actual demonstration of the features and benefits of the CMIS in US state courts and to gather insights on best practices on an automated caseflow system.

April 2007 – Mandate and Authority of the CA-CMIS Ad Hoc Committee.The CA-CMIS was given an official mandate to proceed with the CMIS Project by virtue of Office Order No. 127-07 –RTR. Different Committees/Task Forces were formed namely: Task Force on Inventory and Closed Case Study (chaired by Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr.), Task Force on Change Management (chaired by Justice Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando), Task Force on Re-engineering (chaired by Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes), Task Force on Staff Development (chaired by Justice Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente), and Task Force on System Requirement Specification (SRS) Formulation (chaired by Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas,Jr.).

July 2007 – Commencement of the Courtwide Case Inventory and Closed Case Study. The results of the court- wide inventory and closed case study will serve as the primary source of information which will eventually form part of the database of the CMIS program design.

October 2007 – Site Visit of the Sandiganbayan CMIS. Another activity to learn best practices of a computerized caseflow management system was through an actual walkthrough of the Sandiganbayan CMIS by the CA CMIS Project Team. The two groups were warmly welcomed by then Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Teresita De Castro.

December 2007 – Consultation meetings of the Project Team and ROLE with the CA Justices and Division Clerks of Court mainly to update the Justices on the ongoing activities of the CMIS Project. Basic features of the proposed CMIS program design were briefly explained.

Delivery of forty-two (42) brand new computers by ROLE for use in the data extraction and encoding of the Court’s active cases. The computers will eventually be donated to the Court for use in CMIS-related work. On behalf of the Court, the Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and CMIS Over–all Chairman Justice Andres B. Reyes expressed their gratitude for this gesture of goodwill.

Ongoing Activities:

Data Extraction and Encoding – This is spearheaded by ROLE-CPRM wherein relevant case information is extracted from each active case which will eventually be encoded into the CA-CMIS database. When the system goes on line, live encoding will then be implemented thus giving the public an updated electronic status update of each case. This activity is under direct supervision of the Committee/Task Force on Inventory and Closed Case Study.

Computer Training – Being the primary stakeholders of the CA-CMIS, the Court’s Management Information System Division (MISD) and the CMIS Task Force on Staff Development selected 300 of the 1,650 Court population consisting of Justices and personnel who will undergo basic and CMIS computer training sponsored by ROLE in collaboration with the Philippine Judicial Academy (for administrative supervision) and De La Salle University (for technical training).

Reengineering, Development of System Requirement Specification and Application Software, Change Management. In tandem with the ongoing case events, the other task forces are meeting simultaneously. The Task Force on Re-engineering is tasked to review and modify the Court’s case path based on the results of the closed case study and inventory. Reforms to be introduced by the re-engineering group will then be packaged into a detailed electronic layout or computer design by the Task Force on Systems Requirement Specifications (SRS) Formulation which will then be utilized as the CMIS application software of the Court of Appeals. Behind the scene, the Task Force on Change Management is on call to assess and address the impact of the CMIS which, true to form, is perceived to be a radical reform of the Court’s present manual caseflow system.

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