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PIA Press Release
2008/10/15

The wheels of justice grind faster with Supreme Court's mobile courts

Tacloban City (October 15) -- With the fervent wish of making the Filipino citizenry feel the Supreme Court's mother statement, "justice for the poor," Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Reynato Puno was in Leyte on Friday, October 10, to supervise the conduct of hearings inside a mobile court in a program called Justice on Wheels, at the Leyte Provincial Jail.

The Justice on Wheels Project was relaunched by the Chief Justice in July of 2008, to improve the access to justice of the poor especially those who are above 70 years, and detainees whose cases had drugged for periods longer than prescribed by law. Four buses were converted into mobile courtrooms to serve Manila and other regions of the country.

Together with Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Court Administrator Jose Perez, Deputy Court Administrator (in charge of the Visayas) Nimfa Cuesta-Vilches and other court officials, Justice Puno who was accompanied by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla observed the hearing of at least ten cases inside that Wheels of Justice, which is actually a big bus housing two courtrooms, at the Leyte Provincial Jail at Barangay Kauswagan, Palo, Leyte.

Aside from bringing swift justice through the Justice on Wheels, the ICOT Caravan was also brought to take care of the medical needs of the inmates of the Leyte Provincial Jail.

The Wheels of Justice also visited the clogged Tacloban City Jail where a medical mission was also conducted together with the court hearings.

Chief Justice Puno said that he fast disposition of cases heard in the mobile courts is basically meant to decongest jails and restore to the accused, freedom they used to enjoy before detention.

It would be noted with emphasis that the volume of unresolved or undecided cases impinge not only on the court dockets but on jail occupancy as well. As it is, the courts are overworked with voluminous cases, which brings to mind the need to establish more courts in the Region.

"When you consider the realities on the ground, the poor and the marginalized oftentimes play in an uneven legal field. So the JOW program is predicated on that rationale: bringing social justice to the disadvantaged sectors of our society as a living reality," Chief Justice Puno said. (PIA 8) [top]

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