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Retired high court justice backs call for speedy disposition of cases

RETIRED Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza has backed the call made by business organizations and legal practitioners for courts to ensure the speedy disposition of cases by strictly implementing the maximum periods provided under the Constitution.

“I would like to join the call made last March 29, by 22 organizations representing the business community, three law deans in Iloilo City and the Iloilo integrated bar, urging this Court to lead by example and treat the 24-month period as uniformly mandatory across all levels of the courts to ensure the speedy disposition of cases,” Mr. Jardeleza said during the last oral arguments on the Anti-Terror Act on Monday.

Article VIII, Section 15 of the Constitution states that “all cases or matters…must be decided or resolved within (24) months from date of submission for the (Supreme Court), and, unless reduced by the (SC), (12) months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts.”

Mr. Jardeleza was earlier appointed amicus curiae for the anti-terror law oral arguments, meaning someone who is not involved in the case being heard but presents information, expertise, or insights on the case.

Mr. Jardeleza made the point on case disposition period after stating his position that the 37 petitions against the Anti-Terror Act should be dismissed.

“None of the petitioners has claimed direct personal or constitutional injury or has alleged actual prosecution under the (Anti-Terror Act) as to be entitled to relief. Thus, following the court’s ruling, all 37 petitions should be dismissed,” he said.

The Supreme Court “is not a trier of facts,” he said. “Cases presenting factual issues such as the veracity of the allegations of torture must first be tried under the doctrine of the hierarchy of courts: thus, before the trial courts first and then on appeal before the Court of Appeals.”

He said following the hierarchy doctrine will also hasten the resolution of court cases. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago

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