CJ Gesmundo to sheriffs: ‘Without you, court decisions would be nothing but ink and paper’

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo underscored the important role of the courts’ sheriffs in the country’s judicial system.

“Without sheriffs, we would have no one to rely on to serve summons, to execute writs, to implement court orders, or to enforce judgments. Sheriffs matter -- for without them, even the wisest decisions of our courts would ultimately be nothing but ink and paper,” Gesmundo said.

The Chief Justice was guest speaker during the 21st Sheriffs’ Confederation of the Philippines (SCOPHIL) national convention and election of officers being  held in General Santos City until Friday, May 26.

“Nasa kamay ninyo ang kakayahang bigyang buhay ang hustisya -- at kasama din nito ang kakayahang gawing mas maliksi, mas makabago, at mas madaling maabot ang ating hudikatura (In your hands lie our efforts to enhance the justice system, to make it more speedy, more innovative and more accessible),” Gesmundo told the sheriffs.

He acknowledged the challenges the country’s court sheriffs are facing.  He assured them that “the Judiciary is focused on empowering sheriffs, and all court personnel, by giving them the tools they need “not only to function, but to excel to deliver the kind of justice our people deserve.”

He said the role of the sheriffs and all personnel in the judiciary has been laid out in the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations (SPJI), a five-year judiciary reform program.

The sheriffs were told that the target outcomes of the SPJI which are efficiency, innovation, and access.

“I have been going around with the Associate Justices of the Court to share our vision of reform and to win the support of critical stakeholders such as yourselves,” he said.

“And we are aware that there are apprehensions from those who encounter the words reorganization, digitization, and automation, and hear downsizing and layoffs,” he noted.

Assuring the sheriffs and other court officials and personnel, Gesmundo said: “Again, let me be clear: when we talk of pushing the judiciary forward through innovation, we mean exactly that -- to propel the judiciary, in its entirety, forward. That means bringing everyone, including our court sheriffs, in tow.”

“Sa maikling salita: sa SPJI, sisiguruhin nating walang mapagiiwanan (In short, we assure you that no one will be left behind in our SPJI),” he stressed.

He pointed out that the reforms embodied in SPJI “is for everyone in the Judiciary as they are for the public.”

“We are not pursuing innovation for innovation’s sake: through digitization and automation, we will be able to unleash our potential and upgrade our skills for more meaningful work,” he said.

“As we reorganize our systems and transform our processes, we are freed from the shackles of bureaucracy that limit our productivity, and we are empowered to lead happier and healthier lives,” he added.

The Chief Justice was joined in the convention by Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, Deputy Court Administrator Leo T. Madrazo, and Assistant Court Administrator Maria Regina Adoracion Filomena M. Ignacio.