GMA News Online

US turns over 50 computer units to RP Supreme Court

July 23, 2008 7:16pm

MANILA, Philippines - The computerization program of the Supreme Court received a big boost Wednesday when the United States government turned over 50 computer units and other related equipment to the high court.

During the launching of the Case Management Information System (CMIS), Chief Justice Reynato Puno and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney both underscored the need for a more efficient system that would enable the public to monitor the status of their cases.

Puno said the SC’s computerization program aims to reduce the judiciary’s case backlog and congested dockets.

The computers are part of the US$650,000 US grant for the CMIS for the country's judiciary. The amount includes the cost of developing the software, building the information structure, technical assistance and training for the justices and court personnel.

Designed in partnership between the US Agency for International Development (Usaid) and the SC, the CMIS is an automated system that will allow the courts and their officials to closely and effectively monitor and manage cases pending in their dockets.

It also aimed to strengthen the judiciary's management information system processes and capacities by ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and adequate information that is useful in court management and oversight monitoring, policy and planning, and evaluation.

Aside from the computer units, the US government also donated related equipment such as scanners, computer-aided transcription machines and servers as part of the CMIS program.

The program, which will be fully implemented next month, covers SC, Court of Tax Appeals, Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan.

In his speech, Puno said the CMIS is being launched in line with its commitment to provide mechanisms for a more efficient and expeditious resolution of cases and controversies.

“The CMIS is a response to the problem of docket congestion and delay in the disposition of the cases. This is a daunting problem that should engage our time and attention. Most importantly, the CMIS will allow better transparency of court operations and performance and thus, enhance public services,” Puno said.

Puno acknowledged that docket congestion has resulted in the increase of cost of litigation, “diminishes the actual value of judgments and undermines the quality of justice.”

On the other hand, Kenney said that “CMIS is a tool, that on its own will not solve the problem of docket congestion and case delay, but it is a good tool that, if maintained, will certainly provide greater efficiency to the judiciary’s management information system.”

Puno noted that the CMIS will provide justices and court personnel a calendar of next activities per case which will assist them in programming cases; allow justices and clerks of court to have an overall picture of caseload, case status and overall case management performance; and allow them to retrieve on demand all information in the database pertaining to pending cases.

The CMIS will also allow the presiding justice of the appellate courts to pinpoint the sources of delay and to get information on which and how many cases have exceeded the time limits prescribed by law and the justices and court personnel that should be held responsible for the delay.

Furthermore, Puno said the program will allow the presiding justice to retrieve all information in the database pertaining to specific persons, parties, organizations, lawyers and others who are involved in court cases, and allow the retrieval of information on all cases on appeal across the divisions.

For lawyers and litigants, the system will provide them access to case specific information, including its status.

The academe and the public, on the other hand, will have a limited access to the system such as information on the appellate courts’ caseload and litigation performance on a regular basis. - GMANews.TV
Go to comments