IBP Bukidnon renews calls for more RTCs

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/31 October) — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Bukidnon chapter has renewed calls for more branches of the regional trial courts in the province to help reduce the load of incumbent judges and to ensure cases are attended to.

Apollo Maguale, a member of the chapter’s board of directors, said the IBP issued the statement after it endorsed a resolution calling for “immediate solution” to the lack of courts.

Maguale said Bukidnon lawyers who attended the 2nd Mindanao Convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Cagayan de Oro last month used the forum to call for the immediate resolution of the problem of lack of RTCs in  Bukidnon.

This is not the first time the chapter is calling for additional courts.

He clarified it was a renewal and an affirmation of earlier resolutions IBP Bukidnon passed on the same issue.

One of the highlights of the convention was an open forum where the issues and concerns of lawyers and members of the judiciary as well as the current problems in the justice system were brought out.

Mindanao lawyers also called for the appointment of more Mindanao-based Court of Appeals justices in lieu of the present practice of assigning new justices from Manila to Mindanao.

The lawyers also tackled security threats among the members of judiciary and the government Prosecution Office.

About 20 representatives from IBP chapters from around Mindanao attended the convention.

In April last year, during the local presentation of the Philippine Mediation Center, Supreme Court Administrator Justice Jose Perez told judges and justice stakeholders here that they have already forwarded a proposal to the House of Representatives for the creation of  five new RTCs in Bukidnon

Perez said the creation of new RTCs needs a law to be enacted by Congress

Bukidnon’s judges and clerks of court wrote the Supreme Court in January 2009 for the creation of at least two new RTCs and two new Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs) to reduce the number of cases being handled by these courts, according to RTC Branch 10 clerk of court Renee Gloria M. Ariño

But the SC thumbed down the request for two new MTCs “for there is no need for it”, Ariño told MindaNews via telephone, at that time.

She said they are yet to formalize their request to House members for the passage of the required law.

RTC 10 executive judge Josefina Bacal, she said, was handling at least 819 cases as of February 2009. Another judge had a load of 780 cases.

Bacal told MindaNews earlier other judges were handling at least a thousand cases.

The “average and manageable” load is 300 cases, the clerk of court said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)