Tolentino: PH lacks litigators to handle int'l, commercial arbitrations

Senator Francis Tolentino on Monday, September 19 stressed the need to have specialized homegrown lawyers who would handle international and commercial arbitrations.

In today’s public hearing on the budget for the Judiciary by the Senate finance committee chaired by Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, Tolentino noted the absence of litigators in this particular field, which causes the country to lose in many international and commercial arbitrations abroad,

To address this situation, Tolentino said he has filed Senate Bill 1308, known as the International, Commercial Arbitration Act of the Philippines

“This has never been part of the law school curriculum, this is not part of the bar examination, this is new but this is the way to go. I am very supportive of the judiciary and I hope this post pandemic, we focus not just on what the economy would bring, but even justice for ordinary Filipinos and the judiciary should be at the forefront,’’ he added.

During the same hearing, Senator Raffy Tulfo supported the request of the Judiciary to increase its budget for the 2023 fiscal year which is P52.72 billion.

Supreme Court Administrator Raul Villanueva, in his presentation, said the amount of P21.46 billion was cut from the Judiciary’s original budget proposal of P74.18 billion that was submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Villanueva urged the committee to reconsider adding P2.8 billion to the P52.72 billion budget of the Judiciary, which is composed of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Lower Courts (SCPLC), Court of Appeals (CA), Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and the Sandiganbayan (SB).

Tulfo lamented the slow disposition of cases across the country,

He pointed that it is high-time for the Judiciary to digitalize its operations to effectively serve the Filipinos, especially the poor who are victims of injustices.

“The courts, together with the Department of Justice, is the guardian of the people when it comes to laws... laws are useless if the poor do not have access to the judiciary. Access to the judiciary means it is available to them. Most of our less advantaged citizens don’t resort to the judiciary because it is time-consuming and expensive,” Tulfo said.