Kiko to SC: Fill up unfilled judgeship positions;vacant salas cause of horrendous delays, undermine respect for judiciary

September 15, 2011

Press Statement
September 15, 2011

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urges the Supreme Court to prioritize the filling up of unfilled positions in the judiciary as court cases continue to pile in the country’s courts’ backlog.

“As it stands one fourth of the positions of judges nationwide remain unfilled. This is totally unacceptable because it is one major cause of delays. Today the average case life is six years in the first level. Six years to dispose of a case is ridiculous. Wala pa ang apela dito. And we find out that 25 percent of the salas have no judges. Cases languishing in courts where there are no judges is lamentable.”

Pangilinan, who chaired the Senate Committee of Justice and was Senate Representative to the Judicial Board and Council in 2007, laments what he called regression of systems in the SC.

“In 2007, as chair of Justice Committee and Senate JBC rep and with the leadership of then Chief Justice Panganiban, we were able to reduce the vacancies to 16 percent. Instead of moving forward however, the subsequent Supreme Court leaders allowed the vacancy rate to balloon. Paatras at hindi pasulong ang ginawa ng hudikatura.”

“We will support the measure to have savings placed under the stewardship of the DBM unless the judiciary commits to correcting this anomalous situation and drastically reduce the number of unfilled positions. How do we expect the people to have faith in a justice system that allow for cases to drag on for six years or more? The system is obviously broken and is in need of urgent repairs. No wonder there is wanton disregard for the system. It isn’t working and there can be little or no respect for damaged goods.”