MAY 20, 2013

NR # 3109

Judicial reform will remain a priority – Belmonte
With the results of the elections clearly indicating the people’s support for the government’s reform agenda, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. lauded President Noynoy Aquino’s commitment to judicial reforms. “In early April of this year, during the 15th Congress, the President had signed statutes creating numerous new court branches. These were designed to de-clog court dockets all over the country and make justice more accessible to ordinary Filipinos, especially to the poor,” Belmonte said. Based on official Congressional records, not less than 55 new branches of the Regional Trial Courts and not less than 33 new branches of the Metropolitan Trial Courts have been established all over the country in three years, among others. These do not include the creation of Municipal Trial Courts in areas like the two new branches in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and another two said courts in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental. Belmonte, who has just been proclaimed handsdown winner as a reelectionist in Quezon City’s 4th District, particularly noted Republic Act 104801, which was signed by the President on April 16, 2013, creating 22 additional branches of the Metropolitan Trial Court in the National Capital Region to be stationed at Quezon City. “We have to credit the determined efforts of our colleagues in these specific concerned areas, especially the authors, and the support given by each member of the outgoing 15th Congress. I am sure the incoming 16th Congress will continue this thrust towards instituting necessary reforms in our judicial system,” the Speaker said. The new branches of the Regional Trial Court are located in the following areas: General Santos City, South Cotabato; Agusan del Sur; Negros Occidental; Cebu; Aurora Province; Batangas; Romblon; Kalinga; Davao City; Zamboanga City; Compostela Valley Province; Tacloban City; Bislig City; Cavite; Calamba; Navotas; Valenzuela City; and Bogo City, to name a few. The Speaker further noted many proposed bills of a similar nature are still pending in the 15th Congress. He likewise said that he expects these measures to be re-filed and acted upon soonest as the 16th Congress convenes in July. The creation of the various branches of the different courts in the land is contained in the various separate measures amending specific provisions of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as “The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended.” The particular law creating the 22 RTC branches in Quezon City is a consolidation of Senate Bill 3013 and House Bill 6767 passed on October 15, 2012 and January 30, 2013, respectively. Principal authors of the House measure are: Reps. Jorge “Bolet” Banal, Niel Tupas and Jocelyn S. Limkaichong. (30) dpt

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