Press Release
August 25, 2012


Following the historic appointment of the new Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the judiciary to implement mandatory arbitration to resolve disputes quickly and unclog the courts.

Under Republic Act 9285 enacted in 2004, it is the country's policy to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution to achieve speedy and impartial justice, and declog court dockets.

However, Angara, a veteran lawmaker and lawyer, suggested that instead of just promoting and giving the parties the option to resort to alternative dispute resolution, the judiciary should make it compulsory.

"Maybe we can require parties to put a mandatory arbitration provision in their contracts. If you go to court directly, the court can dismiss the case and ask you to go to arbitration," said Angara, who made the same recommendation during the recent hearing on the budget of the judiciary.

Under RA 9285, alternative dispute resolution system includes arbitration, mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, or mini-trial involving a neutral third party to help resolve the dispute out of court.

"Arbitration is more advantageous than court litigation, especially in our case where it usually takes several years for the trial courts to hear and resolve the cases filed with them," said Angara, co-founder of ACCRALaw, one of the biggest law firms in the Philippines.

The senator explained that in the United States, mandatory arbitration is not required by law. But a Supreme Court decision in the 1960s made arbitration of labor disputes mandatory. He explained that the judiciary adopted a system of labor arbitrators that took over labor relations disputes from the courts.

"I think we ought to do here in the Philippines too. It requires a decision of the Supreme Court. Then it would have taken away so many contractual disputes out of the jurisdiction of the judiciary. It will take away so many of these small cases which waste the time of our justices," he said.

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