DBM promises funds for 'digitized' judiciary

Posted at 09/03/12 12:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Budget and Management on Monday said it is ready to provide funds for digitization initiatives in the judiciary including an online system that will provide updated information on cases.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad said the online system could help litigants check the status of their cases and monitor its progress without having to make multiple visits or phone calls to a judge’s office.

"In addition, it will be quicker and easier to identify which cases are taking too long to resolve, so that the judicial system can pursue measures to hasten the resolution of long-standing cases," Abad said in a statement.

The budget chief said the National Budget can also accommodate the creation of an internal and integrated Human Resources (HR) and payroll management system in the Supreme Court and other government offices.

He said the digitized HR and payroll system will maintain an up-to-date record of all court employees and facilitate the efficient release of employee salaries and benefits.

Abad also recommended the adoption of an initiative similar to the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), which will allow the judiciary to keep tabs on allocations and disbursements across the court system.

“The judiciary’s fiscal autonomy—while essential in preserving the separation of powers in government—has also posed serious challenges in ensuring transparency and accountability in the court system. A judicial fiscal management and information system may help ensure that, should the High Court decide to undertake such an initiative,” Abad said.

Supreme Court on Facebook

Abad also urged the Supreme Court to develop and maintain a more active and responsive online presence, particularly within its own website, as well as in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

“We enjoin the High Court to publish all its final decisions online—from the lowest court to the highest­—including dissenting opinions on these decisions. The public will thus be informed on how certain issues have been settled, especially on matters that bear a significant impact on government and the people’s welfare. This way, the Supreme Court can enlighten the public on key judicial matters, as well as maintain a posture of dignified silence.

“We believe that this is a rare and valuable opportunity for the judiciary to make fund management much more transparent and accountable, especially under the High Court’s new leadership. As it stands, most Filipinos have little to no knowledge of how our court system works, given the many intricacies of the country’s judicial processes. But with mounting interest in the judiciary’s role in government, it may be time to engage the public and address their concerns in a more direct and responsive way,” Abad said.