Coming soon: Online Philippine court records

Here’s one opportunity which I call Australian IT providers with database expertise to consider supporting. Unlike in Australia where record keeping even court preparations are available online, the Philippine court system is still paper based. I will be looking at this opportunity for closely and hope we can find a way to help the Philippine Supreme Court do it effectively and efficiently.

DBM offers financial help for Supreme Court computerization 
By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated September 03, 2012

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is offering a still unspecified amount for the computerization of the judiciary.

In a statement, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said one proposal is the creation of an online system to publish the aging of cases and provide updated information on which court a particular case is lodged in.

“We are more than willing to support the Supreme Court (SC)’s drive for increased transparency, accountability, and openness in their budgetary activities,” he said.

Abad said another proposed solutions is the “digitization of the SC’s internal processes, to boost operational efficiency and allow little to no room for abuse or irregularities.”

“This way, anyone can check the status of their cases online and monitor its progress from there, without having to make multiple visits or phone calls to a judge’s office,” he said.

“In addition, it will be quicker and easier to identify which cases are taking too long to resolve, so that the judicial system can pursue measures to hasten the resolution of long-standing cases.”

Abad said the national budget can also accommodate the creation of an internal and integrated human resources and payroll management system in the SC and other government offices.

“Once in place, this system will maintain an up-to-date record of employees currently serving in all courts at every level,” he said.

“This will enable the accurate tracking of all individuals employed by the judiciary as well as facilitate the efficient release of employee salaries and benefits.”

Abad said the adoption of an initiative similar to the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System will allow the judiciary to keep tabs on allocations and disbursements across the court system.

“The judiciary’s fiscal autonomy – while essential in preserving the separation of powers in government – has also posed serious challenges in ensuring transparency and accountability in the court system,” he said.

“A judicial fiscal management and information system may help ensure that, should the High Court decide to undertake such an initiative,” Abad said.

Abad said the SC must develop and maintain a more active and responsive online presence, particularly within its own website, as well as in social networks and other interaction-driven media.

“We enjoin the High Court to publish all its final decisions online – from the lowest court to the highest – including dissenting opinions on these decisions,” he said.

“The public will thus be informed on how certain issues have been settled, especially on matters that bear a significant impact on government and the people’s welfare.

“This way, the SC can enlighten the public on key judicial matters, as well as maintain a posture of dignified silence.

“We believe that this is a rare and valuable opportunity for the judiciary to make fund management much more transparent and accountable, especially under the High Court’s new leadership.

“As it stands, most Filipinos have little to no knowledge of how our court system works, given the many intricacies of the country’s judicial processes. But with mounting interest in the judiciary’s role in government, it may be time to engage the public and address their concerns in a more direct and responsive way.”

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