Peralta appeals for unity in SC, bares 10-point agenda for judiciary

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    CHIEF Justice Diosdado Peralta yesterday appealed for unity among officials and employees of the Supreme Court as he disclosed his 10-point agenda in instituting reforms and other programs for the judiciary.

    Peralta made the appeal in a speech after attending his first flag-raising ceremony as the top magistrate yesterday.

    “Let us be united and let us follow the rules,” Peralta told the assembled court officials and employees, adding he will lead by example.

    Among the magistrates who attended the flag raising ceremony are Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul Inting, Amy Lazaro-Javier, Rosmari Carandang, Andres Reyes Jr., Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Estela Perlas Bernabe.

    Peralta’s wife, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta, was also present, along with Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) Chancellor Adolfo Azcuna, PHILJA Vice Chancellor Romeo Callejo, Sr., and the regular members of the Judicial and Bar Council, namely, retired SC Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Jose Mendoza, and retired judge Toribio Ilao Jr.

    Peralta’s 10-point agenda for the judiciary during his watch includes addressing the backlog by requiring clerk of courts to conduct periodic inventories of cases and for courts to comply with the rules on prescribe trial periods, the implementation and continuous revisions of procedural rules and the automation of court processes and incorporation of new technology.

    Peralta also vowed to improve the security of judges and the creation of a 24/7 help desk for court users, monitoring of court performances and improvement in the procurement process by creating dedicated project management offices.

    He also vowed to improve strategic planning for the SC and the entire judiciary.

    Records show that 30 judges have been slain while in the service since 1999, the most recent being that of Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte RTC Judge Reymar Lacaya who was killed last May.

    Peralta also revealed a plan for the High Court to initiate investigations of cases involving judges even without a complaint in line with a bid to “weed out misfits from the judiciary” as well as the implementation of a Judicial Integrity Board whose functions will be “harmonized” with the Office of the Court Administrator.

    “Continuation of weeding out of misfits from the judiciary and adoption of a system where court may initiate on its own the investigation of cases being handled by members of the judiciary even in the absence of complaints,” Peralta said.

    The SC created the Judicial Integrity Board and the Corruption Prevention and Investigation Office in October last year to act on complaints against justices, judges, and court personnel and conduct a lifestyle check on them.