August 25, 2012
With Justice Lourdes Sereno now appointed as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan believes that the time has come to reconvene the Judicial Executive Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council (JELACC) "to lay down budgetary support for the modernization of our justice system," among other pressing issues.
"We need to work towards increasing the judiciary budget to address decades-old problems plaguing it, such as the 25% vacancy rate, the lack of facilities and justice halls, the low conviction rates, and the delay in resolving cases that last an average of six years, among others," Pangilinan says.
The lawmaker and former JBC ex-oficio, who has long been advocating judicial reforms, explains, "There is something terribly wrong with the system when a party litigant has to suffer six years of litigation in the first level, and suffer more years of waiting for the resolution of the appeal. It is also totally unacceptable to have a conviction rate of less than 20 percent in criminal cases. This means that eight out of ten cases end up in acquittals."
"This system is anti-poor and anti-progress," Pangilinan asserts. "We should not be allowed to suffer from this rotten and bankrupt system. It is a justice system that is totally unjust and totally unacceptable."
"No wonder respect for the rule of law is more the exception rather than the rule. The powerful and the mighty scoff at it while the poor and the weak having no access to it are oblivious to it. How can anyone respect a system that doesn't work?"