High Court approves funds for courthouses' construction-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
THE Supreme Court (SC) approved Tuesday the P2.38-billion funding for the construction of a state-of-the-art Manila City Hall of Justice, as well as Court of Appeals (CA) buildings in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
Court spokesperson Gleo Guerra said that of the total amount, P1.865 will be earmarked for building the Manila justice hall, which shall showcase much modern courtroom facilities, while P266.95 million was allocated for the construction of the CA building in Cebu and P251.27 million for Cagayan De Oro, on top of the P40 million previously set aside for the construction of the CA building there.
The funding will come from the SC's existing savings.
Guerra said while the amount may be considered staggering, the judiciary in the long run will be able to save on rents being paid by said offices from private corporations.
However, she said the SC is still looking for an appropriate location for the new hall of justice of Manila. The Court earlier was looking at suggestions to put up the building at the old GSIS in Aroceros, or at the former Jai-Alai building on Taft avenue.
The construction of the Manila hall of justice was among the top priorities of the SC to showcase its modernization efforts, which will model courthouses equipped with modern communication facilities.
Last February 26 at a speech before the Justice Sector Coordinating Council, then Chief Justice Renato Corona said that he is pushing for the approval of the additional P3-billion fund for the construction of the justice hall in the country's capital.
The soon-to-be constructed Manila hall of justice will have LCD screens outside each courtroom to allow lawyers, litigants and the public to view court activities and announcements.
It will also be environment-friendly with paperless conference rooms also equipped for video conferencing, as well as closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, intercom and internet wireless hotspots installed in strategic areas.
The high-tech hall of justice will also boast of a centralized filing and docketing system to vastly improve the administration of justice.
However, the chief magistrate said the assistance of other stakeholders in the justice sector is needed to the judiciary de-clog its dockets.
Earlier, court administrator Jose Midas Marquez defended the P3-billion budget allocation, saying it was an amount worth for the construction of a judicial landmark at the nation's capital.
He said while the entire project of constructing the Manila hall of justice is placed at P3 billion, the National Government may only shoulder a substantial fraction of the cost. The rest of the amount may be sourced from the private sector or from the SC’s allied foreign institutions, he added. (JCV/Sunnex)