Friday, September 26, 2014

SC hopes to cut down trial from 5 years to 90 days with new system | News | GMA News Online

See - SC hopes to cut down trial from 5 years to 90 days with new system | News | GMA News Online

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday formally launched a "continuous trial system" that is expected to significantly cut trial duration from the usual three to five years to just around 90 days.

Volunteering to start the continuous trial system are 26 judges coming from 20 regional trial courts and six metropolitan trial courts from Quezon City, Makati, Manila.

In her speech, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said she hopes continuous trials would soon become the "norm" in the Philippine justice system.

Gloria Steele, mission director at USAID Philippines, which extended financial support for the project, expressed confidence on the success of the new system.

"Under the leadership of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, I know this will be a resounding success and this shows that it is possible to resolve cases at a shorter period of time," she said.

For her part, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also threw her support to the newly introduced system, assuring the Supreme Court that it can expect government prosecutors and lawyers from the Department of Justice to cooperate.

"The men and women of the DOJ stand with the Supreme Court to make this a reality. Sagot ko po ang public prosecutors and attorneys to ensure the success of this endeavor," she said.

While she welcomed the new project, SC Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro admitted that the draft guidelines prepared by the volunteer judges still needed improvement, even as she gave an advice on what key points to add to the guidelines.

De Castro reminded the volunteer judges that they cannot include guidelines that are not consistent with existing rules.

"It is important for you to group your cases into those going into continuous trial and those which will be dealt with the way you use to do," De Castro advised the judges, whom she described as being "brave" for taking on the task of being the first ones to try the new system.

De Castro recalled how she personally experienced trial delays when she was still presiding justice at the Sandiganbayan.

For his part, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco also urged prosecutors to take the new system seriously since they too contribute to its success.

"If prosecutors and Public Attorney's Office lawyers are not ready to present their witneseses, then we have a problem with the continuous trial system," he said, adding that an "effective" pre-trial should be observed in cases.

In her annual press conference for the media last August, Sereno mentioned the continuous trial system, saying that she hopes that there would be 100 volunteer courts holding continuous trials by 2015 and 500 volunteer courts by 2016. —KBK, GMA News.

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