GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 March) – The city government has allocated around P8 million for the construction of an archive building for the eight trial courts in the area.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the preparatory works are now ongoing for the two-storey building project, which will be built within the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) compound here.
The site is located near the Hall of Justice compound in Barangay Lagao that hosts five Regional Trial Courts (RTC) and three Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC) branches.
The mayor said the building will mainly serve as the repository of archived legal documents of the eight trial courts.
“Our courts here really need additional support so they can dispense with their functions in faster and proper manner,” he said in a statement.
Rivera said that when he assumed as city mayor in July 2013, he immediately looked at the situation of the justice system in the city.
He later explored partnerships to help address the needs of the local courts, judges as well as prosecutors.
The city government increased the allowances of judges, prosecutors and lawyers under the Public Attorney’s Office, he said.
“One of their requests was to have an archive building that’s why I did my best, with the help of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, to make it possible,” Rivera said.
Jose Midas Marquez, Supreme Court administrator, lauded the “overwhelming support” being extended by the local government to the courts in the area.
“It is not very often that we have an LGU (local government unit) that is very supportive to our courts,” said Marquez, who graced the recent groundbreaking of the building project.
The official said the project is symbolic of the strong partnership between the city government and the judicial branch.
He noted that the courts are important components of local governments and that there can be no successful LGU without the support of the judicial system.
“Normally, I go to different cities and talk to the mayors to ask support for our courts, but here in GenSan, I didn’t have to do that,” he said.
“I think the last time I expressed my appreciation to a mayor was in Manila. In Mindanao, this is my first time,” Marquez added.
He assured that they are continually working to make the judicial processes in the city and other parts of the country become much faster and efficient.
Marquez said they are currently developing the “e-court” software and with the local courts here as among the first recipients.
In 2013, the Supreme Court designated four additional courts – RTC branches 55, 58, 59 and 60 – for the city to augment the operations of the eight existing courts.
The new RTC branches, which were created by virtue of Republic Act 10393, have no appointed judges yet.