Abolish CA, increase trial courts instead: Alvarez

MANILA -- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday proposed to abolish the Court of Appeals (CA) and instead increase the number of trial courts to facilitate a speedier disposition of justice.

Alvarez made the remark in his opening message during the Conference on Judicial Institution Building and Reforms at New World Manila Bay Hotel in Manila.

Alvarez lamented the slow resolution of cases running up to "years, if not decades" to be resolved as he stressed the need to simplify the process when introducing judicial reforms.

He explained that cases take so long to resolve at the trial level, and are referred to the Court of Appeals where "decisions take another couple of years to be resolved". The matter is then brought to the Supreme Court.

"This status quo is not acceptable and we have to be mindful of the realities in the judiciary as we review and revise the Constitution," he said.

He said the Court of Appeals should be abolished "unless it can speedily resolve cases brought to it."

"I propose that the Court of Appeals -- unless it can speedily resolve cases brought to it, and unless it can be shown that it facilitates, rather than delays the speedy disposition of justice -- be abolished. Rather, let us expand the number of our trial courts in proportion to our population," Alvarez said.

The Speaker also recommended eliminating the delaying tactics of lawyers, clearing the courts' schedules to focus on finishing a number of cases, investing in the specialization of courts, and improving the capacity of judges and staff.

"Let us further invest in the specialization of these courts to resolve particular cases and the improved capacity of their judges and staff through management training and further studies to speedily render speedy and fair judgments," he said.

Alvarez likewise proposed stricter legislation to curb corruption within the ranks of the judiciary, as well as stiffer penalties for corrupt judges.

"This is the way forward in the attainment of justice and the rule of law in our country," he said.

Source: Philippine News Agency