Third Quarter 2014
It was a hectic quarter for PHILJA with the usual delivery of our various programs—the Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Executive Judges (selected Executive Judges and Vice Executive Judges of the Visayas) held in Cebu; the Career Enhancement Program for RTC Clerks of Court in Region VI (Roxas City) and Region XI (Davao City); the 70th Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Newly Appointed Judges; the 28th Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Newly Appointed Clerks of Court and the 4th Orientation Seminar-Workshop for Newly Appointed Sheriffs and Process Servers (Batch 1), both held at the PHILJA Training Center (PTC) in Tagaytay City. Other activities also held at the PTC were the Judicial Career Enhancement Program for selected RTC Judges of the National Capital Judicial Region and the Career Development Program for Court Legal Researchers of Region VIII.
The Focus Group Discussion on the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases and the Personal Security Training for Judges, as well as the Refresher/Advanced Course for Court-Annexed Mediators for the Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon Mediation Programs, also took place at the PTC.
“Glenda,” one of the most powerful typhoons to hit the Philippines this year, dealt the Metro area and Tagaytay City a dreadful blow enough to damage some areas of the PTC and cause both a power outage and water shortage there. Our commendable PTC staff and PHILJA training teams proceeded with the scheduled activities notwithstanding the discomfort in the typhoon’s aftermath.
In August, we headed to Dumaguete, the lovely city by the sea, for this year’s Academic Excellence Lecture Series in the Judiciary (AELSJ), in partnership with the Metrobank Foundation and in cooperation with the Silliman University College of Law and its General Education Integrative Learning Lectures Program. Human Rights lawyer and University of the Philippines Professor Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr., featured speaker, addressed an audience of judges, lawyers and law students in a lecture on Legal Nuances to the Philippine Ratification of the Rome Statute in the International Criminal Court held at the University’s world-class Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium.
In addition, quite a number of special focus seminar-workshops were carried out by PHILJA training teams all over the country: Competency Enhancement Training for Judges and Court Personnel Handling Cases Involving Children (Dumaguete City); seminar-workshops on Various Laws and Rules Relating to Money-Laundering and other Financial Crimes held for Judges of Regions XI and XII (Davao City) and Regions VIII and IX (Cebu City); seminars on the Rules of Procedure on Financial Rehabilitation for Special Commercial Court Judges and Pairing Court Judges in the NCJR and Regions IV and V (Pasay City), Regions I to III, and other stakeholders (Baguio City); seminar-workshop on Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Rule of Law for Executive and Vice-Executive Judges of Regions IX to XII (Davao City).
After a long time since the last one, and pursuant to the Chief Justice’s directive, a Curriculum Review for the Philippine Judicial Academy was held at the PTC and was immediately followed by a well-attended 4th Plenary Assembly of the PHILJA Corps of Professors at the Court of Appeals Auditorium in Manila.
It was at this last forum that I shared the information that I had been elected Member of the International Commission of Jurists for a five-year term. I will continue as Chancellor of PHILJA but will attend and give lectures on human rights and the rule of law in the Asian region to fulfill two weeks a year of service.
Notwithstanding its full calendar, PHILJA continued to assist in the Enhanced Justice on Wheels Program (EJOW) through the delivery of the component Information Dissemination through a Dialogue among Barangay Officials and Court Officials in the Cities of Iloilo and Bacolod in Western Visayas and in Digos, Davao del Sur, and Kidapawan City in the province of Cotabato.
We also extended a hand to the 16th Convention and Seminar of the 20,000 strong Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) in Davao City, which was attended by some 3,000 of its members, and likewise helped in the 16th Convention and Seminar of the Metropolitan and City Judges Association of the Philippines held in Quezon City.
The Academy, thru the Philippine Mediation Center Office (PMCO), conducted a number of activities supporting Alternative Dispute Resolution. In Negros Oriental, we delivered an Orientation Conference with Stakeholders on Court-Annexed Mediation, an Orientation and Screening of Prospective Mediators and PMC Unit Staff, and a Basic Mediation Course and a Pre-Internship Orientation and Meeting with judges, clerks of court, branch clerks of court, mediation-trainees and PMC Unit staff in Court-Annexed Mediation under their Mediation Program. In Iloilo City, we held a Judicial Settlement Conference for Judges on Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) and the JDR Orientations of Public Prosecutors and Practitioners, Clerks of Court, and Branch Clerks of Court. A Refresher/Advanced Course for Court-Annexed Mediators was also held in La Union for the benefit of the La Union, Benguet, and Pangasinan Mediation Programs.
Two roundtable discussions (RTDs) held for the benefit of Court of Appeals Justices rounded off our activities for this quarter—one on Substantive Laws and Jurisprudence on Intellectual Property (Batch 3) held in Zambales and the other on the Rules of Procedure on Financial Rehabilitation in Manila.
We took note of the new rulings, doctrinal reminders, and recent resolutions, circulars, and orders of the Supreme Court as well as of the Office of the Court Administrator.
To our officials and staff, keep up the good work and congratulations on our highlights thus far.
To our development partners, thank you for your valuable support as we pursue our common goal.
To the Supreme Court, we are very grateful for the unwavering support for PHILJA in all our trainings, programs, and activities.
To the Almighty be the glory.
(Sgd.) ADOLFO S. AZCUNA