A Bill to Speed Up the courts.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)
CHIEF Justice Hilario Davide Jr., who just received the 2002 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, introduced the concept of mediation as opposed to all cases going to trial, when he began his reforms of the justice system. Something drastic was needed to ease the backlog of cases clogging the courts - some of them as much as 20 years old. Under Davide's leadership after he became Chief Justice in 1998-pilot projects were undertaken by both the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice in which non-adversarial mediation methods were used to reach a resolution, short of going to trial. Enough time has lapsed to see the results: the pilot projects handled by the Justice Department were reported to have achieved settlement rates of a whopping 93%, leaving only 7% to persist in going to trial court.
In response to this validation of the mediation procedure, Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. has filed Bill 5004, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Law of 2002, which calls for the adoption of the system nationwide to resolve conflicts without the expense or time consumed by taking a case to trial. The bill seeks to create a Philippine Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, to which civil cases will be referred before they are sent to the prosecutor's office.
The bill also calls for the strengthening of the Katarungang Pambaranggay process to that local disputes can be resolved at the barangay level by barangay officials.
The notorious slowness of the judicial system, and suspected corruption especially pertaining to Temporary Restraining Orders that often hamstring development projects, has been fingered as a major stumbling block to development in this country, and is usually listed by business organizations as a major deterrent to investment.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution process can be a godsend for people with charges they wish to press, but who do not have the funds to hire expensive lawyers. …