Senator Dick Gordon expressed gratitude for the signing of Senate Bill No. 1681, or the Judges-at-Large Act of 2018, by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The objective of the bill, which Gordon sponsored, is to address the increasing number of pending trials in courts and to solve the congestion of court dockets through the creation of 100 regional trial court judges-at-large positions and 50 municipal trial court positions.

It also aims to address the delay in the disposition of cases due to overloading of cases assigned per judge. As the veteran legislator pointed out, there are so many cases to be heard but very few judges are deciding on the cases.

“There are not enough courts or judges to meet the demands of our countrymen.”

“The congestion of our courts’ dockets deprives the courts of time. Judges need time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions. The quality of justice is therefore adversely affected by the congestion of our courts’ dockets. There are not enough courts or judges to meet the demands of our countrymen,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

“Declogging court dockets will help decongest jails in penitentiaries.”

The senator also pointed out that declogging court dockets will help decongest prisons and jails. As of September 18 this year, the total capacity of various prisons under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is only 12,299, but the total population of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) or inmates in these penitentiaries is 47,354, resulting in a 285% congestion rate.

According to the bill, the regional and municipal trial court judges-at-large positions that will be created may be filled or left vacant depending on the needs of trial court judges as determined by the Supreme Court. This measure, as Gordon explained, will allow the SC to assign the judges-at-large to courts with the most clogged dockets.

“It is high time for the government to add judges where statistics clearly prove they are needed. Courts are deeply embedded in every aspect of our country’s society, economy and governance. They are very important in enabling and ennobling the lives of our countrymen,” he said.

The Judges-at-Large Act of 2018 was proposed by Gordon during the 17th Congress.


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