Feature: Driving judicial justice to unimagined speed
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (13 October) -- HERE is judicial service driven to the doorsteps, literally.
Saddled with still many vacant courts resulting in the piling of unresolved cases, jam-packed jails, and the seemingly coming into reality the justice delayed; justice denied taunt, Bohol now sees a light in the end of the dark tunnel with the Justice on Wheels (JOW) program of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Boasting of a new speed for resolving cases, the Justice on Wheels (JOW) program is now here now under Executive Judge Pablo Magdoza.
The JOW is one of the major initiatives of the Supreme Court under its action program for judicial reforms.
Behind its track record is a record 245 cases heard in two months, released 160 juvenile offenders for suspended sentences, plea of guilt, recognizance, probation and diversion.
No less that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) Artemio Panganiban, accompanied by associate justice Adolfo Azcuna, the Chairperson of the SC Committee on Justice on Wheels came for the Bohol judicial milestone marking.
The judicial bigwigs delegation was also welcomed by Vice mayor Nuevas Montes, Governor Erico Aumentado and Bohol local officials at the city airport, minutes before the formal launching ceremonies.
Launched in 2004, the project seeks to improve the poor and the marginalized sectorís access to justice, encourages the fast disposition of cases through the innovative dispute resolution and provides affordable judicial services through the mobile courtís operation.
With Bohol, the JOW comes in the form of mobile court in a reconfigured bus doubling as a courtroom, mediation room with an assisting judge complement, clerk of court, stenographer, clerk, a process server, a mediator, public prosecutor, a driver and a security guard.
With presiding judgeís covering unoccupied courts as added burdens in their rounds, and with the courts being located far apart, the problem has become compounded piling endless delays.
Set amidst the problem, the mobile court may be sent to these areas with unoccupied courts, to address specific concerns such as case congestion and delay until permanent solutions are established, the DOJ brochure said.
Literally improving the physical access to courts, the JOW travels to court stations and detention cells or jails to hear cases.
It may even go to circuitized courts and towns where court seats may be accessible by the JOW, a DOJ produced JOW brochure states. (PIA) [top]