MANILA - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday renewed his proposal to abolish the Court of Appeals to simplify the process in the judiciary.
"I propose that the Court of Appeals, unless it can speedily resolve cases brought to it and, in other words, unless it can be shown that is it facilitates rather than delays the speedy disposition of justice, be abolished," he said in his opening message at the conference on Judicial Institution Building and Reforms.
Instead, Alvarez wants the expansion of trial courts in proportion to the population.
"Let us further invest in the specialization of these courts to resolve particular cases and the improved capacity of their judges and staff, through management training and further studies, to promptly render speedy and fair judgments. Also, only the cases as provided for in the Constitution should reach the Supreme Courts," he said.
Alvarez also wants to remove delaying tactics afforded by the present system to lawyers who abuse the courts.
"Courts should clear their schedules to focus on finishing a specific number of cases rather than juggle so many cases at the same time. This will facilitate the speedy disposition of cases. No more back and forth for witnesses who need to travel from out of town. No more witnesses who, because of old age, are already dead by the time they are called to testify. No more pieces of evidence lost with the passage of the years."
Alvarez however concedes there will be risks involved for his proposal.
"Without a Court of Appeals, for example, what remedy does a litigant have against a corrupt trial court judge? To balance the slant of power in their favor, I propose stricter legislation to curb corruption within the ranks of the judiciary. Let us make proving corruption on their part an easier task by shifting the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused should certain sets of facts be present. The penalties for corruption committed by our judges should also be stiffer."
Alvarez's proposal to abolish the CA first came out at the height of the case of the Ilocos Norte 6, who sought relief from the CA over a congressional probe into the alleged misuse of the provincial excise tax funds. The CA ruled in their favor which prompted the House to assert its independence.