THE Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice will soon host a data center for case records from courts all over the Visayas.

Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez yesterday met with judges of the courthouse as part of preparations to automate case records in the Visayas.

“Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice is a model courthouse, the only model courthouse in the Visayas. It has the required infrastructure,” Marquez told reporters in an interview, citing facilities such as the training room and cafeteria.

Marquez said case data from all courts in the Visayas will be sent to the Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice before these are transmitted to the Supreme Court.

This, as six Regional Trial Court (RTC) branches in Cebu City have been recommended to handle civil cases from the six RTC branches in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu to unclog these courts, said Marquez.

A court in Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City has an average backlog of more than 1,000 cases, while a Cebu City RTC branch handles 300 to 400 cases.

Marquez said they are aiming that the civil cases will be heard by Cebu City RTC branches starting Feb. 1.

Mid-year

Helen Perez-Macasaet, information and communication technology consultant of the Supreme Court, said existing facilities of the courthouse such as computer servers and generator sets will be upgraded.

She said the data center will be fully functioning by middle of the year.

Macasaet accompanied Marquez yesterday as they looked for a room in the Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice that can be turned into a server room for all case records in the Visayas.

Marquez said the judiciary’s effort to automate court records dates back to 2011 when it did a pilot test in a courthouse in Quezon City.

“Automation is very important because it will give our judges a tool to manage and monitor their cases more efficiently. With a push of a button, they will be able to see their pending cases,” he said.

Among others, judges will know how long a prisoner has been detained, allowing him to determine which cases to prioritize, said Marquez.

“We are rolling out this project to different cities. We hope that in five to eight

years, we will have fully automated all courts in the country,” he added.

Marquez said an inventory of pending cases in the three regional trial courts and one municipal trial courts for cities at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice is ongoing and will soon be completed.

After the Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice, automation of case records will be implemented in the Cebu City courthouse, said Marquez.

Vacancy

Meanwhile, Marquez said they are finding acting presiding judges to fill in the vacancies left by four Cebu City RTC judges who had retired—Simeon Dumdum, of RTC Branch 7; Silvestre Maamo, Branch 17; Eric Menchavez, Branch 21; and Enriqueta Belarmino, of Branch 57.

They applied for optional retirement last month, thus leaving seven of 22 Cebu City RTC branches without a presiding judge.

RTC Branch 5 became vacant after Judge Douglas Marigomen died in February 2013.

RTC Branch 13 was left vacant after Judge Meinrado Paredes retired in March 2014.

Branch 24 has been vacant for two years, after Judge Olegario Sarmiento, Jr. opted for early retirement in September 2012.

SC had designated acting presiding judges to temporarily hear cases pending in these courts.

Marquez also inspected the courts in the Qimonda IT Building in the North Reclamation Area.

“The transfer is okay. We need some finishing touches,” he told reporters.