SENATOR Robinhood Padilla is pushing a measure seeking to establish additional Shari’a Judicial Districts, stations for the district courts, and circuit courts in the country to ensure Muslim Filipinos have access to fair and speedy justice.
Padilla filed Senate Bill 2215 proposing amendments to Presidential Decree 1083, citing the 1987 Constitution’s provision that the State shall recognize, respect and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions and institutions.
“This is to ensure that our Muslim brothers and sisters across the archipelago will have better access to the specialized knowledge and expertise of Shari’a judges, promoting fair and equal treatment of Muslims under the law, regardless of their geographic location,” the senator said.
The bill adds three Shari’a districts – the sixth district for Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro City and provinces in Davao and Caraga regions; the seventh for provinces within Central, Eastern and Western Visayas, and Mimaropa; and the eighth for provinces within Metro Manila, Cordillera, and Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Bicol and Southern Tagalog to the existing five in Sulu; Tawi-Tawi; Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur and Dipolog, Pagadian and Zamboanga Cities; Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Iligan and Marawi Cities; and Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City.
The measure also provides that the permanent stations for the three new districts will be in Davao City (sixth district); Cebu City (seventh district); and Manila City (eighth district). The existing permanent stations are in Jolo, Sulu; Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; Zamboanga City; Marawi City; and Cotabato City.
Meanwhile, five additional Shari’a Circuit Courts would be set up in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro City and provinces in Davao and Caraga regions; two in the provinces within Western, Central and Eastern Visayas regions, and Mimaropa; and four in Metro Manila, along with the provinces of Cordillera, and Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Bicol and Southern Tagalog.