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SC sets up regional court manager office to implement reforms

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The Supreme Court (SC) will implement judicial reforms by creating the Office of the Regional Court Manager (ORCM) in every judicial region intended to unburden trial court judges of their administrative duties so they can devote more time to deciding cases filed before their courts.

Chief Justice Alexader Gesmundo has led the information drive on the creation of the ORCM during a caravan held in the City of San Fernando in La Union on April 5.

The SC explained that the ORCM will decentralize and improve the delivery of administrative services to about 2,720 first and second-level courts – from municipal to regional trial courts.

At present, the SC exercises administrative supervision over all lower courts through the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) headed by Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva.

Under the current setup, the SC said “all court branches are reliant on their executive judges, and ultimately on the central office of the OCA for official action.”

According to the tribunal, the modernization of OCA is under the five-year Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations (SPJI) to improve the delivery of administrative services to trial courts.

It said that through the ORCM, “the OCA will devolve some of its key functions to the regional court managers, who will be directly communicating with the court branches within the region, and vice-versa.”

It also said the ORCM “will be given the authority to sign off on administrative and fiscal matters and to deliver multiple services directly to the courts.”

Thus, it said that OCA can “devote more of its time and resources to ensuring that the ORCMs are attending to their functions and that courts are primarily focused on their adjudication performance.”

Chief Justice Gesmundo said the new setup “aims to optimize and harmonize the administrative processes involved, and consequently, ease the administrative workload of the executive judges to ensure the high performance not only of the courts but of all the other offices involved.”

“Through the ORCM, the Judiciary will accelerate and promote the use of technology in the judicial regions, and advocate and champion the awareness, understanding, and implementation of the SC’s reform programs under the SPJI,” he said.

He told trial court judges during the caravan: “Today, we kick-start a new beginning- the beginning of an efficient judicial machinery for first- and second-level courts. Through this, we hope to eradicate the administrative delays and inefficiencies that add to the worries and concerns of our trial court judges, who as it stands, are already saddled with adjudicative work.

“From lack of office space and supplies to delayed and centralized procurement, from much-delayed initial salaries to belated funds disbursements and releases, from late issuance of travel authorities to delayed action on request for additional personnel, we heard your grievances. Now, we are here to ease your burdens,” he stressed.

He then expressed the SC’s gratitude to its development partner, the European Union-GOJUST II, for the support in the ORCM project.


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