Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has exhorted all trial court judges and personnel to support fully the judiciary’s five-year innovation plan aimed at providing all Filipinos “equal access to justice in real time.”
In his speech before the members of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) during its convention last Thursday in Taguig City, Gesmundo said judges should be “force multipliers” in the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovation 2022-2027 (SPJI) and help the Supreme Court (SC) to get the message across and be active agents of reform.
The SC formally launched its SPJI last Oct. 14. It said the innovation plan is aimed at dispensing justice “efficiently, effectively, and timely.”
In his message, the Chief Justice emphasized the role of the judges in the success of the SPJI which he described as “our blueprint for action in the next five years.”
Without the support of judges, “reforms will not last; they will not even take root,” he said.
“Our aim, then, is to raise awareness about our vision and strategies among the Judiciary, and to convert as many stakeholders as we can—turning them from acquiescent observers and passive beneficiaries into invested and proactive participants,” Gesmundo added.
The top magistrate stressed that attempts at judicial reform haveproven that the work does not end in changing tools and processes but can be sustained only if coupled with a “change in mindset, in attitude, in perspective of our people: our judges, our officials, our personnel, and our court users.”
Gesmundo said when he and the other SC justices travelled around the country to share their vision for reforms, they observed some push-back and apprehension “from those whom the words reorganization, digitization, and automation come across as euphemisms for downsizing and layoffs, and how this mindset strikes fear and harbors resistance.”
“When we talk of pushing the entire Judiciary forward through innovation, we mean exactly that—to propel the Judiciary, in its entirety, with everyone in tow, and no one left behind,” the Chief Justice assured.
“With the pandemic hopefully nearing its end, your theme for this year’s convention—‘PJA: Forging Ties for Humanity and Peace’—points to the task we must now take on as we look to rebuild and recover,” he said.
“As frontliners of the judiciary, you have so much to contribute to the attainment of this noble aspiration. Indeed, through your decisions, your actions, and your example, you have the power tofoster them from our courtrooms, and to grow them beyond our halls,” the top magistrate added.
He then urged PJA members to strengthen their bond and “help chart a clear course forward for our Second Level Courts, especially now as the judiciary strives to reform and innovate.”
The Chief Justice was joined by Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva during the PJA convention.
Gesmundo and Villanueva were welcome by PJA officers led by President Danilo S. Cruz; Executive Vice-President Byron G. San Pedro; SeniorVice President Acerey C. Pacheco; Vice-Presidents Gener M. Gito,Maria Paz R. Reyes-Yson, Caridad V. Galvez, Ma. Theresa E. De GuzmanAlvarez, Pablo C. Formaran III, Lily Lydia A. Laquindanum, and Mia Joy O. Oallares-Cawed; Secretary-General Elisa R. Sarmiento-Flores; Treasurer Hannah Cynara L. Cayton; Auditor Mary Jane B. Dacara-Buenaventura; Public Relations Officer Pia Cristina B. Bersamin-Embuscado; and Business Manager Tarcelo A. Sabarre, Jr.