Today is Sunday, September 23, 2018

PJ's Message

It has been more than a quarter of a year since my appointment as Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals. The past months have been marked by several significant events in the Court. In addition to our customary celebrations of the Christmas holidays and of the Courtís 72nd anniversary, we had other events and projects in the Court the past quarter.

With the optional retirement of Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon, the Court had to reorganize its twenty-three divisions. The reorganization which saw the transfer to Manila of Associate Justices Isaias P. Dicdican and Pampio A. Abarintos from the Cebu station, and of Justice Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores from the Cagayan de Oro station, was approved by the Supreme Court in its Resolution dated March 18, 2008 in A.M. No. 07-4-032-CA.

The same approved resolution designated Justices Antonio L. Villamor and Romulo V. Borja, as Executive Justices for the Cebu and Cagayan de Oro stations, respectively. After the retirement of Associate Justice Enrico Lanzanas on April 19, 2008 and upon the official report to Manila of Justices Dicdican, Abarintos and Flores, Office Order No. 129-08-CMV was issued pursuant to the Supreme Court Resolution dated March 18, 2008.

In July of this year, the composition of the Divisions of the Court will again be changed in view of the coming compulsory retirement of Associate Justices Lucenito N. Tagle and Agustin S. Dizon in June and of Associate Justice Rodrigo V. Cosico, Chairman of the Third Division, in July.

The One Stop Processing Center, an on-going project in the Court, is nearing completion. This will streamline and improve the Courtís service to the public by consolidating in one place the frontline functions such as filing, payment of fees, and inquiry of case status.

When this project becomes operational, the lawyers and litigants will find it more convenient and expeditious to file pleadings, pay docket fees or inquire on the status of their cases.

Other security concerns will also be addressed by this center as it is strategically located near the entrance gate. We will regulate entry and exit of vehicles and people and prevent loitering within the CA compound. We have to make the premises off limits to people who have no official business in the court.

Another current project is the automated Case Management, Monitoring and Information System (CMIS) undertaken with the indispensable cooperation of the USAID-ROLE. The project is now in process and will go full blast with its features of case tracking and monitoring, records management, scheduling case events and information management, and reporting.

After the completion of the inventory of cases, ongoing and upcoming activities of this project are development of data entry module, data extraction, data encoding, and the preparation of an operations manual. When this project is completed, the Court can more effectively supervise and monitor the progress of cases.

It will include status and management of time and events necessary to move a case from the filing process through its disposition, thus detecting causes or points of delay, and will permit faster location of records.

Other proposed plans we hope to commence within the year 2008 are the immediate repair of the third floor and the roof of the main building, damaged by fire last July 2007. These will make available additional rooms for our Justices. They will have a better office atmosphere befitting their positions and a good physical set-up where they and their staff can work more efficiently.

Budgetary and financial constraints presently prevent the court from undertaking a total repair of the burned fourth floor of the main building. But we hope to accomplish this once sufficient funds are made available for the purpose.

During the past quarter, the Court has had to face uncharted territory, having been designated by the Supreme Court to hear the newly established judicial remedies of the writs of amparo and habeas data. Yet, despite lack of existing precedents and rules of procedure for these cases, plus the lack of sufficient personnel such as stenographers and interpreters to assist in the trial of these cases, the Justices and their staff are doing their best to cope with the demands of these cases. Thus far, the Court has done its job creditably and with dispatch.

It is as worth mentioning that the past year 2007 has been a banner year for the Court of Appeals in terms of case disposal, considering that of the 10,709 cases received in that year, the Court disposed of 13,245 cases or a 124% disposal rate.

With the aforementioned plans and events, the Courtís mandated role of providing speedier justice to litigants will surely be further enhanced and better realized, with the indispensable cooperation of everyone in the Court.

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