Acting Chief Justice Carpio draws attention to plight of judges in Manila
"As we inaugurate the Angeles City Hall of Justice today, I cannot help but think of the situation of all the other court houses in the country, particularly in the City of Manila," Carpio said in his speech.
"It is very ironic and unfortunate that the capital city of the Republic still does not have its own hall of justice for its 104 courts," he added.
Currently, judges and court employees of Manila courts are still "tenants" inside Manila City Hall, where they make do with “cramped and dilapidated work space,” Carpio emphasized.
The acting chief magistrate expressed hope that the executive and legislative branches of goverment will finally allocate funds for Manila’s own hall of justice.
The Abad Santos Hall of Justice in Angeles City is the second of three model halls of justices that the Supreme Court had planned to build with funding from the World Bank. The structure boasts of eco-friendly architectural designs and updated communication facilities.
Carpio was co-chairperson of the Oversight Committee on Halls of Justice, which approved the design of two model court houses in the Philippines: the newly inaugurated Angeles City Hall of Justice as well as the Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice inaugurated in Cebu in 2007.
In his speech, Carpio emphasized that every detail in the construction of the hall of justice—inspired by a specific rendition of Baroque art—has significance to the judiciary.
"The aesthetics promote respect for the tradition and purpose of the Judiciary. They express solemnity, stability, rigor, fairness and integrity... The scale of the design reflects a solemn national judicial enterprise. The architectural elements are proportional and arranged hierarchically to signify orderliness," he explained.
Carpio also stressed the hall of justice was environment friendly in that its design maximizes the use of natural light and has a rainwater collection system, as well as houses a materials recovery facility for recycling and waste processing purposes.
Other features of the building are a holding room for detainees inside the court room, a multi-purpose hall, training and meeting rooms, lounges for judges and lawyers, and space for a clinic, library and nursery.
"These two model halls of justice only mark the beginning of the development of the Judiciary's modern infrastructure throughout the country," Carpio said.
Apart from Carpio, also at the inauguration were Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Ma. Lourdes Sereno. All three magistrates are vying to become the next chief justice. Also in attendance was Court Administrator Midas Marquez. — ELR/HS, GMA News