Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo vowed to resolve cases which have been filed with the Supreme Court (SC) since April 5 within the 24-month period from submission for decision as mandated by the Constitution.
Also, the SC justices have committed to resolve aging cases, those pending for many years, within 24 months, Gesmundo said during his first media briefing on Friday, June 11, since he assumed as Chief Justice last April 5.
He said his tenure will focus on case decongestion and a technology-driven judiciary. He will serve as Chief Justice until Nov. 6, 2026, his 70th birthday.
On case decongestion, Gesmundo said that he and his colleagues have agreed to prioritize the resolution of aging cases in the next 24 months.
“Likewise, my fellow justices and I have resolved to decide all petitions, cases, or matters that have been filed before the Supreme Court after April 5, 2021 strictly within the said 24-month period from date of submission pursuant to Section 15 (1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, and to strictly observe requirements for the proper exercise of its power of judicial review,” he said.
To support the expeditious resolution of cases, the Chief Justice said that the SC has approved several amendments to its Internal Rules.
Among these amendments, he said, are: prescribing a period of one month within which the members of the Court should submit reflection, comments, or suggestions, and a period of two weeks to resolve thereafter; shortening the period for distribution to the other members of the Court of the Member-in-Charge’s report on a case prior to its scheduled agenda date to at least three working days; and imposing a limit on the nature of administrative cases that can be elevated to the Court en banc (full court).
He also said the SC is already considering the hiring of more law clerks for the offices of the justices to help eliminate aging cases or those already beyond the 24-month period to resolve.
On technology, Gesmundo said the SC will utilize fully the “eCourt System” to cover “ePayment,” “eFiling,” “eRaffle” of cases and digitalized rollo (case records).
The use of video conferencing and online filing of cases were among the measures adopted by the SC to assure that courts are in operation despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Now, he said, the SC will utilize technology to fully implement the “eCourt system.”
“The establishment of an eCourt System will provide a unified, comprehensive, and intelligent case management system for the entire Judiciary. An eCourt System is envisioned to cover the functions of online payment or ePayment; online filing or eFiling; online raffling of cases, or eRaffle, and the maintenance of digitalized rollo or records of cases,” he said.
He added that technology would be utilized fully to strengthen legal research, performance evaluation, anti-corruption programs, public assistance, and speed up the preparation of transcript of stenographic notes.