Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo rallied the country’s trial court judges to consistently perform their duties as the judiciary’s “frontliners.”
Gesmundo, together with eight other SC justices, visited the Makati City Hall of Justice (HOJ) on Friday, Nov. 19, and observed one of the in-court hearings during the culmination of the “National Judgment Week” launched last Nov. 15 through the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).
Addressing the Makati City judges, both those from the metropolitan trial courts and the regional trial courts, Gesmundo expressed the SC’s gratitude to them and all the trial court judges in the country “for consistently performing your duties and responsibilities as our frontliners.”
“As frontliners, you are the reflection of the Judiciary for those people who deal with the judicial system. So let us not frustrate our people that their first encounter with the Judiciary is not acceptable to them,” he stressed.
He reminded the country’s judges of the virtues and qualities of a good judge — competence, integrity, probity, and independence.
He said: “The strength of the Judiciary lies on you — the first and second level courts. You are the base of that pyramid and the strength of the pyramid lies on its base. If the base is weak then expect that those in the upper level will collapse.”
The Chief Justice was accompanied during his Makati City visit by Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, Associate Justices Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa, Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Rodil V. Zalameda, Jhosep Y. Lopez, and Jose Midas P. Marquez; Deputy Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, OCA Officer-in-Charge; Assistant Court Administrator Maria Regina Adoracion Filomena M. Ignacio, and Chief of the Public Information Office and Assistant Court Administrator Brian Keith F. Hosaka.
The “National Judgment Week” was launched to decongest court dockets and jail facilities.
The activity was implemented by all judges in the municipal trial courts, municipal circuit trial court, municipal trial court in cities, metropolitan trial courts, regional trial courts, and the Shari’ah courts.
In a circular issued by Marquez as court administrator before his promotion as SC associate justice, trial court judges were mandated to set for hearing civil and criminal cases, particularly those involving persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in various jails in the country.
Trial court judges had been ordered to conduct an inventory of the pending civil and criminal cases and to set them for hearing starting Nov. 15 “with the objective of terminating these cases pursuant to existing laws, rules, and guidelines.”
“This directive, however, should not prevent any court from promulgating judgments or releasing PDLs on an earlier date warranted by circumstances,” stated the circular.
“At the conclusion of the Nationwide Judgment Week (Nov. 15 to 19), all courts shall immediately accomplish the survey/report form to be posted at the Official Announcements and Issuances Teams Channel in the Philippine Judiciary Office 365 platform,” the circular also stated.
The program was launched by OCA in celebration of its 46th anniversary. OCA was created on Nov. 18, 1975 under Presidential Decree No. 828.