Creation of judge-at-large positions to clear judicial backlog pushed

November 24, 2018
Richard Gordon
Richard Gordon

SENATOR Richard Gordon urged his colleagues in the Senate to support his bill on creating judges-at-large positions to improve the country’s judicial system.

“We have been investing heavily in infrastructure roads, bridges, airports, schools, and the like. It is high time we invest in our judges and in the justice system. It is high time for the government to add judges where statistics clearly prove they are needed,” Gordon said.

Gordon recently sponsored Senate Bill No. 2065 under Committee Report No. 496 to hasten the resolutions of phalanx of cases in the courts.

SBN 2065 proposes to amend Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 or the “The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980,” to create the positions of judges-at-large. The bill is a substitute for Gordon’s SBN 2002 and two other similar bills -- SBN 1681 and 1691.

Gordon stressed that courts are deeply embedded in every aspect of our country’s society, economy and governance and are very important in improve the lives of Filipinos.

He said as of June 30, the number of pending cases totaled 178,582.

Gordon explained that since there are 2,663 judges in the first and second level courts, there is a ratio of one trial court  judge to 37,927 Filipinos.

Gordon pointed out that there is a need for the creation of 150 judges-at-large positions (100 for regional trial courts and 50 for municipal trial courts) because the quality of justice is adversely affected by the congestion in courts since judges no longer have sufficient time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions.

Gordon, also chairman of Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, noted that de-clogging court dockets will help decongest jails, which are currently facing a congestion rate of 114 percent.

The Bureau of Correction facilities has a total capacity of 19,268 prisoners, but has an inmate population of 41,258.