SUPREME Court (SC) Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. urged Thomasians to follow the ideals of St. Thomas More in promoting justice in the country.

Davide emphasized the importance of transparency, accountability and impartiality in the judicial system during the 35th St. Thomas More Lecture at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex last Feb. 7.

According to Davide, Filipinos must be inspired by the dedication of St. Thomas More in serving the people.

“It is the duty of every good man to be of service to his country,” Davide said.

One way to show service is through the delivery of justice, Davide said. He pointed out that the justice system is helping the country to advance.

However, Davide said the system must be reformed in order to carry out its duties efficiently.

He explained reforming the justice system starts by gaining the public’s trust.

“Public confidence cannot be manufactured, it must be earned,” the Chief Justice stressed. “The appropriate strategy is less talk, less promises, more action, more result.”

Davide also explained his own reform program called “Davide Watch.” The program envisions a judiciary system that is independent, effective, efficient, and worthy of public trust and confidence.

In his program, the Chief Justice envisions a judge to be knowledgeable in both law and court procedures and familiar with the emerging legal developments.

He also made public the high court’s Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR). APJR is a medium-term and comprehensive program that outlines the initiatives to revolutionize the delivery of justice. The program tackles administrative and personnel matters as well as facility requirements and maintenance.

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APJR is also concerned with the disciplinary action on erring and corrupt magistrates and SC office personnel. Thus, the SC, Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, and other concerned government agencies.

From 1999 to 2000, 418 judges were sanctioned, 28 of whom were dismissed. Also, 386 SC employees were reprimanded.

However, the reform should not only be made inside the institution. Davide stressed the public’s role in the reform’s success.

He said the public must be aware of the operations and developments happening inside the judiciary so that they can appreciate and understand how the institution is working to bring justice.

“Only when the public fully understands and appreciates the justice system can we truly say that we had won the people’s faith and trust,” Davide said.

He assured that the judiciary would continue to persevere in developing reforms to convince the people that the institution is dedicated in serving justice.

“This is a challenge I welcome,” Davide said. Billy Joe I. Allardo

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