By US News Agency / Asian
South Cotabato officials are urging the Supreme Court to immediately appoint a permanent judge for a vacant Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch to help de-clog local courts of the piling unresolved cases.
Boardmember Ernesto Catedral said Tuesday a substantial number of cases are currently pending before the RTC Branch 25 in Koronadal City due to the absence of a permanent justice that would properly handle or dispose them.
He said the exact number of the pending cases at RTC Branch 25 were not immediately available but cited that they have long been piling up and will likely remain unresolved until a judge is appointed to its bench.
Catedral, who is a lawyer, said the cases filed at RTC Branch 25 are currently being handled by Branch 24 Executive Judge Oscar Dinopol.
He said Dinopol has been trying to accommodate the pending cases from Branch 25 but could not cope up so far with the demands of handling at least two courts.
“It’s about time that a permanent judge should handle RTC Branch 25, not only to speed up the disposition of the pending cases but ensure the proper delivery of justice here in the province,” said Catedral said.
Pending the appointment of a permanent judge for RTC Branch 25, the official said they are planning to initially ask the Supreme Court to assign Judge Jordan Reyes of RTC Branch 5 in Mati, Davao Oriental to temporarily assume as judge at the vacant court for at least five days every month.
He said the assignment of Reyes, who is a former municipal mayor and still resides in Polomolok town in South Cotabato, will help dispose the cases that were already due for resolution and eventually ease the court’s backlogs.
South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said the provincial government is fully supporting calls for the immediate appointment of a permanent justice for the vacant RTC branch and is ready to provide incentives to anyone who would be assigned by the Supreme Court to handle it.
“We will offer financial incentives to encourage our lawyers to apply as judges and eventually fill up the vacant courts here,” he said.
Pingoy said the provincial government earlier provided incentives of around P3,000 to P5,000 per month to local judges but the amount was later reduced to P1,250.
He said they are currently planning to allocate additional funds to raise the judges’ incentives to a more reasonable rate.