Manila, Philippines – We all know that the judiciary, like the other branches of our government, needs reforms. The newly appointed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno vowed to lead in reforming the judiciary and we should all give her a chance to do that.
At the very least, Chief Justice Sereno should be credited for publicly announcing that she will make her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) since she became associate justice of the Supreme Court in 2010 available and accessible to the public.
I agree with Chief Justice Sereno on her prescription for the judiciary to redefine itself in light of greater demands for accountability and transparency, advances in information and communications technology, and the need to save and preserve the environment.
A paperless judiciary is a notable vision of the new chief magistrate.
This vision supports the need for greater transparency in this branch of government. With the internet being accessed in almost all parts of the country, the courts will be more responsive to the needs of our people if records and other court transactions will be made available through electronic means.
The courts can also tap mobile communications technologies in the performance of its constitutional mandate especially because majority of Filipinos, regardless of economic status, have mobile phones.
It is also clear that a paperless judiciary is a significant move to save and preserve the environment. As most of us know, court documents are normally voluminous. As such, getting rid of papers in judicial proceedings and transactions can be easily appreciated as not having to cut significant number of trees to produce paper.
But in addition to her vision of a paperless judiciary, Chief Justice Sereno is also expected to reform the pace of the completion of court proceedings in our country while ensuring that all Filipinos, regardless of their economic status, are given equal and full protection of the law.
While being paperless is an admirable “redefinition” of the judicial branch of our government, it will not mean much to our country and people if the problem of case clogging in our courts is not addressed.
We look forward to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno not only as the first woman chief magistrate of the country but also the one who will lead in reforming the judiciary and making it stand for the true essence of justice for all Filipinos.