Press Release
July 11, 2013


Bill seeks to increase the number of Associate Justices from 14 to 44

To fast-track the resolution of cases before the anti-graft court, Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III has filed Senate Bill 472 increasing the number of associate justices in the Sandiganbayan from 14 to 44.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of extracting accountability in a timely and relevant manner. However, our justice system is undermanned and overburdened. We need additional associate justices in Sandiganbayan for it to fulfill its mandate of implementing fair, equitable justice in a speedy manner," Sen. Guingona said.

According to a study sponsored by the Supreme Court and the World Bank, each Sandiganbayan division handles approximately 1,000 cases per year, with each case taking an average of seven years to be disposed of by the court.

By increasing the number of justices, Senator Guingona's bill seeks to create fifteen division with three justices each, instead of the present five divisions. Seven divisions will be stationed in Metro Manila, four in Visayas, and four in Mindanao.

SBN also allows one justice from each division to hear and receive evidence, instead of the existing rule on requiring all three justices in a division to accomplish such task.

"I will continue to push for the needed reforms in the judiciary and other government institutions. The Filipinos should be empowered to seek reforms in government. The government, civil society organizations, academe and the private sector should support reforms that will benefit the majority of the Filipinos," he added.

Sen. Guingona explained that by increasing the capacity of the Sandiganbayan and rationalizing its procedures will make the court more capable in performing its principal function of eliminating graft and corruption in the government services.

"With the additional associate justices in Sandiganbayan, the need to extract accountability in a timely and relevant manner will no longer suffer," Sen. Guingona added.

The Good Governance advocate explained that the proposed measure aims to ensure that justice will be implemented fairly, equitably and with the highest level of integrity.

"Efficiency is one of the pillars of good governance. Good governance is the vital solution to our nation's ills. If we do not transform on how our institutions are managed, all efforts for transparency and accountability will just go to waste. We need to strengthen the capacity of our institutions to make the right decisions, and to regain our people's trust in government," Sen. Guingona said.

Sen. Guingona, a reforms advocate, said that government should renew its trust and partnership with the Judiciary to escalate the needed reforms in the country.

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