Reforming Ourselves

MANILA, Philippines --- (Editor's note: There's a dire need for a bigger judicial office to monitor decisions of lower courts, as noted by the author.)

When corruption reaches alarming proportion involving theft or diversion of public funds, it's not the Sandiganbayan of 14 judges alone or the Ombudsman that should lead in putting behind bars persons with an irreversible lust for tax money. Big and petty corruption is committed by thousands of government employees in various agencies of the national and local government.

The right message but...

Removing a chief justice by impeachment will probably deliver the right message, but will not stop the habitually corrupt from engaging in a lifestyle long supported by public funds. Agencies like the BIR, BOC, DWPH, etc., still have employees who have hardened themselves over the years. As a rule they ignore threats of prosecution or stiff prison terms.

Reform as continuous process

If cases in hundreds of lower courts are not decided fast enough or within the period covered by the rules, utter neglect, not mere negligence, can effectively frustrate reforms started at the top.

Reform is a continuing process and reminder to all bureaucrats that efficiency, competence, and honesty on the job need to be done without benefit of force or threat of any degree. The top management of any department, bureau, commission, government-owned corporation, or office should lead the way in instituting reforms from the top down.

It's not easy to reverse attitudes and habits long supported by base ways for years.

Strict supervision of judges

How many officials in Manila have the main task of breathing down the necks of judges in the provinces, cities, and towns? Are judges asked to submit a list of decided/undecided cases on a regular basis, like every three months?

Justice habitually delayed

If 800 RTC judges have such reports, who will read and evaluate them and impose sanctions on the lazy bones? There are late statistics on this problem and will probably remain as figures or problems for years.

If undecided cases remain in a judge's courtroom beyond the allowable period - or indefinitely - this is ground enough for some form of censure or sanction. Of the hundreds of judges getting a low score on efficiency, only two or three of them get a slap on the wrist yearly as reminder of failures in their duties. (One such judge was dismissed, but the decision was served long after his death. This indicates lack of knowledge of a respondent judge's tenure or status in his position.) Did he continue to receive his pay check from Manila before the notice of his separation?

Mouthpiece?

Café gossip calls for expanding the office of the Court Administrator, with a reminder that this office should not be used as the principal mouthpiece of the chief justice, but of the full court only. The chief justice is only one of the 15 decision makers on the court, and he should speak for himself if the subject involves his personal problem.

The practice of giving the Court Administrator a full-time job as spokesman for the court is against the basic principle of good/pragmatic management. The job of informing the public should be made part-time. Holding a press conference to explain court decisions is not necessary. This converts the court's spokesman into an apologist, without full power to speak for any of the justices or the full court itself.

Spreading confusion

The so-called TRO for former President Arroyo and party to travel created an unnecessary confusion when the Court Administrator told a hastily called press conference that the order was effective/executory immediately. This was disputed by one justice who fully understood the TRO: That it was subject to conditions, one of which was not met by Mrs. Arroyo before proceeding to the NAIA pre-departure area.

This unfulfilled condition moved the DOJ to hold the former president's departure, adding to more confusion. If the court spokesman had left the matter of effectivity to the Clerk of Court who was present at the deliberation, the heated exchange of words would have been avoided. (Comments are welcome at roming@pefianco.com).

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

  • Filipina maid photographs "modern slavery" in Hong Kong

    By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Filipina maid in Hong Kong has published stark photographs of burned and beaten domestic workers to highlight the "modern slavery" she says has long been the city's shameful secret. "Hong Kong is a very modern, successful city but people treat their helpers like slaves," said Xyza Cruz Bacani, whose black and white portraits won her a scholarship from the Magnum Foundation to start studying at New York University this month. It's common …

  • Want to buy a brand new car?
    Want to buy a brand new car?

    Tired of fixing your old car? Maybe, this is the best time for you to invest a brand new car. BPI Family Savings Bank, the country’s leading consumer bank, is extending its newest campaign “Bagong Kotse, 1-Month Libre” promo until June 30, 2015 which allows potential car buyers to avail of a car loan term up […] The post Want to buy a brand new car? appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options