Monday, November 20, 2017
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Bill creating ‘judges-at-large’ positions gets appropriations approval

The House of Representatives committee on appropriations chaired by Davao City first-district Rep. Karlo Nograles has moved to address the huge backlog hounding the country’s lower courts, especially with the war on drugs.

“Specifically, the Appropriations panel has approved the funding requirements of the substitute bill for House measures seeking the creation of positions for ‘judges-at-large,'” Nograles said.

Covered by the substitute bill are House Bills (HB) filed by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (HB Nos. 5215, 2308), MATA Party-List Rep. Tricia Nicole Velasco-Catera (HB No. 167) and Cavite Rep. Roy Loyola (HB No. 2308).

Nograles said these bills were consolidated and given the appropriations approval.

“The criminal justice system in the Philippines is perceived to be slow given the sheer volume of docketed cases. Human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno once said that a trial in the country usually lasts six to 10 years. This measure presents a solution that aims to decongest court dockets in an efficient manner,” noted the Davao solon.

Judges-at-large are basically deployable judges who have no permanent ‘salas’ or benches. This means they can be detailed by the Supreme Court to any court in the country, depending on the need.

The substitute bill provides for the creation of 50 Regional Trial Judges-at-Large and another 50 Municipal Trial Judges-at-Large. It amends sections of Batas Pambansa129 for this purpose.

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