Fetalvero: Suggestion: Apply ‘court leave with pay’

THE court congestion and trial delays must have prompted the Philippine Government to introduce arbitration as an alternative in the court room. The judicial logjam has long been a problem in our justice system as it takes several years, sometimes even for a civil case, to be heard.

Discussing the barangay’s mediation capability, Estaca, Compostela Village Captain Leonida Goc-Ong revealed that her office mediates about on the average 15 cases a month. Most often than not, only two of the 15 are elevated to the court. “Most of the disputes are settled during mediation,” Goc-Ong said. Cases brought to the barangay involve family squabbles.

It has been my observation that Filipinos do not know much about their rights as citizens of this country. It is the right of every Filipino to report any crime being committed in his community but that right is not expressed for fear of retaliation or of being ostracized.

One setback in mediation hearings, the barangay has no investigative power. It can only hear the issues being disputed upon as presented by parties.

Despite the attempt to decongest, the backlog is still something that has to be addressed. It is my earnest hope that the next administration will set aside a budget so that we can add more court rooms and hire more court personnel. I am a firm believer of “justice delayed, justice denied.” Melvin Belli and Allen Wilkinson, authors of Everybody’s Guide to the Law, pointed out the causes of trial delays.

u201cLawyers routinely ask for delays and put off cases because they try to handle too many cases. Other lawyers file every kind of motion they can think of to increase their fees or harass the other side.”

While in the United States of America, a court leave with pay is granted to those employees who are summoned to appear in court as witnesses, here in our country, there is no such thing. “No work and no pay” has more often than not discouraged people to be involved in court cases as witnesses. And lack of witnesses leads to trial delays.

I suggest Congress pass a bill that would allow our employees to go on a court leave with pay.

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