Support strategic plan, SC asks PBA

I  know  the  focus now  of  the  PBA  is  not  just  to  remain  resilient amidst emerging challenges, but to stay relevant especially in the face of evolving  technology… I  am  happy  to  see  that  we  are  one  in  this  goal

September 11, 2022

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Friday urged the Philippine Bar Association to support and help spread awareness about the reforms undertaken by the high court under its Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027.

The SPJI institutional blueprint of the Court En Banc’s plans and programs for the delivery of responsive and real-time justice. Speaking as guest of honor at the PBA’s 130th Foundation Day and Law Day Celebration at the Kamagong Room, Manila Golf & Country Club, Makati City, Chief Justice Gesmundo underscored that the support of the PBA will be valuable especially since its leaders have called on its members “to embrace technology.”

“I know the focus now of the PBA is not just to remain resilient amid emerging challenges, but to stay relevant especially in the face of evolving technology… I am happy to see that we are one in this goal,” said the Chief Justice.

Gesmundo has been pushing for a technology-driven Judiciary since his assumption into office in 2021.

“My hope is that the PBA helps lead the way as we advance these innovations across the entire Judiciary. In particular, I hope the PBA can lend its resources, expertise, and networks to raise awareness about the reforms we are pursuing,” he said.

He added that he was looking forward to the PBA capitalizing on social media and other technological tools to help in the dissemination of the SPJI to its members and the public, especially after the recent relaunch of the PBA website.

Gesmundo said: “This will all be very helpful in informing not just our colleagues in this profession, but our people as well….I hope that the Court can also count on you to push for both the adoption of these reforms in the Judiciary, and the adaptation of your peers in the profession to innovations and technological advances.”

Gesmundo also urged the PBA to invest in the skills and resources needed to enable the technological shift that the Court envisions through its SPJI, which was approved by the Court on 28 June 2022 under A.M. No 22-04-26-SC.

He shared that the SPJI “is a plan powered by an Innovation Agenda to review and assess the organizational structure and operations of the various offices of the Judiciary, and to develop and establish an information and communications technology infrastructure for the Philippine Judiciary.”

The Chief Justice said that at the height of the pandemic, the Supreme Court began allowing the trial courts to conduct hearings via fully remote videoconferencing through the promulgation of the Guidelines on the Conduct of Videoconferencing, which institutionalized the conduct of virtual hearings and electronic testimony for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He likewise mentioned that the Court’s Committee on Virtual Hearings and Electronic Testimony is currently working on the rules that will allow the conduct of all court proceedings through videoconferencing even after the end of the pandemic.

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