TIMELY and fair delivery of justice, transparency and accountability, equality and inclusion, adaptability to technology are the four guiding principles contained in the five-year Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI) the Supreme Court hopes to achieve during the celebration of its 122nd founding anniversary on June 11, 2023.
If fully implemented, the Highest Tribunal will surely achieve its three target outcomes — Efficiency, Innovation and Access.
To achieve Efficiency, the SC shall implement a thorough organizational review and restructuring in the judiciary. It also includes the establishment of programs on enhancing the physical and well-being of all court officials and employees and reinforce ethical responsibility.
In the SPJI, it underscores that Innovation would include introduction of new paradigms and concepts, like the first-ever regionalized and digitalized conduct of the bar examinations during the coronavirus pandemic and the bench books on family courts and commercial courts.
To achieve Access, the SC has continued its efforts to bring judicial services closer to the public.
Justices zones were created in many urban cities in Metro Manila, Davao Region, Western Visayas, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.
The SC has implemented a program of active coordination among the prosecution, the courts and the corrections system, in order to ensure a faster disposition of cases.
Also, the SC has permitted the conduct of virtual conferencing of hearings of criminal cases to lessen congestion of cases in several courts.
In a report from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), it said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, some 27,000 courts in the country have conducted an estimated 170,000 hearings via teleconferencing.
The OCA further reported that through virtual hearings, around 81,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) were released from incarceration.
Electronic filing of complaints and petition for bail; e-payments of fees were permitted to speed up resolutions of pending cases which resulted to access to judicial processes.
In the SPJI, the use and adaption of digital transformation is considered a factor in the target result of the strategic innovations by the highest court of the land.
The creation and development of a digital platform is envisioned to enable judges and court clerks to conduct research on a computerized database.
Likewise, a creation of a public information will surely enhance the public access to publication of cases in the court system.
In conclusion, the SPJI was launched to realize the goal of rendering equal access to justice in real time with efficiency and access to fair disposition of justice to all. In the words of Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, the realization of the objectives of the SPJI is imperative in ensuring the attainment of the goal to “remold and transform the courts into consistently efficient and accountable havens for the disadvantaged, the wronged, and the injured.”