ENACTMENT INTO LAW OF JUDGES-AT-LARGE BILL WILL EASE COURTS' OVERLOAD OF CASES - GORDON
Senator Richard J. Gordon expressed confidence that the overload of cases in trial courts across the country will soon be eased once Senate Bill No. 2065 or the Judges-at-Large Act of 2018 is enacted into law.
SBN 2065, which Gordon authored and sponsored, seeks to create 100 positions for regional trial judges-at-large and 50 positions for municipal trial judges-at-large nationwide to be assigned by the Supreme Court as acting or assisting judges in regional trial courts or second level courts and in the municipal trial courts or first level courts that are overloaded with cases.
"Justice delayed is justice denied. Article III, Section 16 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution specifically states that 'all persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative bodies,'" the chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights said.
Likewise, Gordon pointed out that with about 160,000 cases pending in the 1,200 first-level courts (city and municipal courts) and 640,000 in the 1,100 second-level courts or the regional trial courts as of 2017, the clogged dockets of the courts cause great delay in the disposition of cases. Data from the Supreme Court's Court Management Office showed that as of Dec. 31 last year there are also 528 vacancies in first and second level courts.
"We are aware that there are courts that have overloaded salas or dockets. The proposal here therefore is to assign judges-at-large to support or to assist practically in passing these cases that are loading the docket so that justice could be dispensed more swiftly. They could also be assigned to temporarily fill up the vacancies until a permanent judge has been appointed," he explained.
Gordon added the congestion of courts' dockets also adversely affect the dispensation of justice in that judges no longer have sufficient time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions. "This will also relieve the judges and afford them time to study each case carefully and to come up with good decisions," he said.
Gordon expressed hope that with the adoption of the Senate version of the measure by the House of Representative, the enrolled bill would be transmitted to Malacanang and signed into law at the soonest time possible.