Byline: REY G. PANALIGAN
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban said the reforms instituted by Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. for the past seven years are now bearing fruit in terms of speedier and high-quality justice dispensed in all levels by a transformed judiciary.
The judicial reforms are contained in the "Action Program for Judicial Reform" (APJR) that detailed the "vision, mission and direction" adopted by Chief Justice Davide just 11 days after he assumed the stewardship of the Supreme Court in 1998.
Davide was appointed on Nov. 30, 1998. He will retire on Dec. 20 this year when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
"Those of us who will be left behind shall pursue the reform program with the same ardor and vigor as shown by our beloved leader," Justice Panganiban said.
Chairman of the High Court's third division, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, and seven committees on judicial reform, Panganiban delivered the 10th Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. Distinguished Lecture.
The lecture entitled "The Totality of Reforms for a Transformed Judiciary" was held the other day at the auditorium of the Far Eastern University in Manila, before guests from the academy, law firms and associations, the judiciary, the executive and legislative branches of government, and representatives from various local and international agencies that extended technical and financial support to the reform program.
Paying tribute to Davide, Panganiban said that the Chief Justice is not only the country's chief jurist but also the chief executive officer of the judiciary handling the administrative, financial, and management concerns of more than 28,000 judicial employes nationwide.
Davide is a brilliant jurist, a great leader, a perceptive thinker, an ingenious decision writer and a "compelling people mover," said Panganiban.
"He aims to inspire, to motivate and to lead other officials to work unceasingly, to rise above their puny limitations, to excel beyond themselves, and to achieve collectively their loftiest dreams and highest aspirations," Panganiban said.
"Undeniably, it is in the realm of leading the judiciary to independence, integrity, transparency and accountability that the distinction between the jurist and chief executive has made the real difference," he said.
Citing the Supreme Court's APJR for the judiciary, Panganiban said the reforms consist of six components. These are:
1. Judicial systems and procedures which concern the administration of cases and courts. Initiatives in alternative dispute resolutions, computerized case management system, streamlined court rules, and similar activities are programmed under this section.
2. Institutions development which seeks to establish mechanisms to strengthen the judiciary as an institution independent from other branches of government. Included in this component are systems to implement the constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary, to improve judicial accountability, and to devise personnel and financial policy that will give the judiciary the flexibility needed to address the many demands upon it.
3. Human resource management development which covers the selection, hiring, education, promotion, and remuneration of justice, judges, and other judicial officials and employes.
4. Institutional integrity development which addresses graft and corruption and puts in place mechanisms to detect and punish corrupt practices of some judges and lawyers. …