SC, 2 dept heads launch 'Justice Zone' program

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2014 05:03 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2014 01:03 AM

MANILA - The Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) launched on Friday its "Justice Zone" program in Quezon City, also the pilot area for the project.

In attendance were JSCC members Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, representing the Supreme Court (SC); Secretary Leila De Lima of the Department of Justice (DOJ); and Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The JSCC defines a Justice Zone as "an area or locality where a minimum number of inter-agency coordinative reforms are present, rendering that area or locality fully compliant based on a selection and accreditation system established by the council."

The objective of the program is to develop and sustain best practices among the five pillars of criminal justice system, namely law enforcement, prosecution, the trial and appellate courts, correction, and the community, to ensure speedy preliminary investigations and trials.

These best practices shall be instituted in identified critical processes in the criminal justice system, starting from alternative dispute resolution, case build-up, trial, and post-judgment interventions. A fully and effectively functional Justice Zone is seen to cut trial time by 50%.

The continuous trial system, E-court system, E-subpoena, and measures to improve case and inmates databases, are some of the important innovations for the Justice Zone.

Quezon City was chosen as its pilot area because of its population, resources, as well as the presence of a wide range of cases filed before its City Prosecutor's Office and its trial courts.

The program is co-funded by the European Union. EU Ambassador to the Philippines, Guy LeDoux, also also graced the occasion.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate Justice Committee chairman, Sen. Koko Pimentel, for their part, expressed commitment to support the program by seeing to it that it gets enough share in the national budget.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, meantime, thanked the JSCC for choosing his city as the Justice Zone pilot area, and committed to support the program with the city's resources.

The Justice Zone project will soon be cascaded in other areas in the country.