Press Release
May 16, 2008

"There are enough safeguards in place to avoid this from happening."

Senate Majority Leader and Independent senator Kiko Pangilinan today allayed fears that the Joint Judicial, Executive, Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council (JELACC) might undermine the independence of the Supreme Court by saying enough safeguards are in place to ensure that such thing will be avoided.

JELACC is the brainchild of Sen.Kiko, who has been a strong advocate of judicial reforms since 2001. He was chairman of the Senate Justice Committee in the 12th Congress and is currently on his 7th year as Senate representative to the Judicial and Bar Council, the longest to serve as ex officio member since the JBC was established 20 years ago.

"Firstly the creation of the JELACC is not by law but by a memo of agreement. Hence, at any given time, any party to the agreement may send notice to other parties if it desires to withdraw its participation from the council. The hands of the SC, therefore, are not tied to the JELACC should it deem it necessary to disengage because of legal or policy differences," Kiko said.

"Secondly, the creation is by MoA and not by law precisely because the council is meant to be ad hoc in nature. It is meant to fast track the much needed reforms in the administration of justice by way of budgetary and other forms of support. In the event that significant reforms have been put in place then the council can be dissolved. The sooner it is dissolved the better because this would mean that reforms have been realized and the council's existence becomes unnecessary," Kiko added.

"The JELACC is meant to address serious problems that have plagued the judiciary and the administration of justice for decades. This requires new approaches, new methods and strategies. The JELACC is an 'outside the box' solution to these perennial concerns that refuse to go away. We cannot expect the recurring problems to go away if we apply the same tired, old and ineffective methods. Now more than ever, we need bold, fresh, creative and innovative approaches to solve our nation's ills and the JELACC is one such approach. Our nation's problems don't go away and remain unsolved precisely because we aren't being bold and daring enough to seek new ways& new approaches to governance. By providing d much needed budgetary support for judicial reforms, JELACC will in fact strengthen the independence of the judiciary rather than undermine it," Kiko ended.

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