Senator Dick Gordon has described Republic Act 11459 or the Judges-At-Large Act of 2019, which the Supreme Court is set to implement, as a game-changer that will improve the country’s judicial system as it would decongest trial court dockets across the country and ensure the speedy administration of justice.
Republic Act 11459, of which Gordon was the principal sponsor and author, seeks to create 100 positions for regional trial judges-at-large and 50 positions for municipal trial judges-at-large nationwide to be assigned by the Supreme Court as acting or assisting judges in regional trial courts or second level courts and in the municipal trial courts or first level courts that are overloaded with cases.
“The Supreme Court is on the right track.”
“The Supreme Court is on the right track – creating 50 judges-at-large posts in partial implementation of the law. The Constitution mandates that all persons have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases but the overloaded dockets of our courts prevent that. But the implementation of this law will address that,” Gordon, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights said.
The veteran legislator pointed out that with about 160,000 cases pending in the 1,200 first-level courts (city and municipal courts) and 640,000 in the 1,100 second-level courts or the regional trial courts as of 2017, the clogged dockets of the courts cause great delay in the disposition of cases.
“The law seeks to assign judges-at-large to support or to assist practically in passing these cases that are loading the docket so that justice could be dispensed more swiftly. They could also be assigned to temporarily fill up the vacancies until a permanent judge has been appointed,” the seasoned lawmaker explained.
“The congestion of courts’ dockets adversely affects the dispensation of justice.”
The senator added the congestion of courts’ dockets also adversely affects the dispensation of justice in that judges no longer have sufficient time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions.
“This will also relieve the judges and afford them time to study each case carefully and to come up with good decisions,” he concluded.