THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
The 1987 Philippine Constitution1 states that only the Supreme Court is the constitutional court having been created by the constitution itself. All other courts are statutory courts in the sense that they are the creations of Law. They are referred to as lower courts in the constitution, id est, those courts below that of the Supreme Court.
The Regional Trial Court is one of the Lower Courts in the Philippines. It is presided by 720 Regional Trial Judges in each of the thirteen (13) regions of the country, which includes Branch 17 of Tabaco City. In administering justice, the judiciary decides controversies between the party litigants. At the same time, It is also contributes to the rule of law without which there will be chaos in the country. What is more significant; however, is that the judiciary achieves such end by relying on the moral grounds generated by the quality of its work in administering justice.
The judiciary must obtain public faith and confidence, henceforth; it is necessary that court and judges should perform well and that they are capable to such faith and confidence. To gain and maintain the trust of the people the judiciary must be honorable, competent and independent.The court plays a pivotal role in every community. It is a duty of every individual that after a crime has been committed, any formal action must be funneled through the courts. Hence, court judges’ makes judgment after the presentation of respective positions papers of the parties in an ordinary or criminal case or upon a stipulation of facts upon which the disposition of case is based.
However, large number of cases are laid on the courts today that posits the old dictum “Justice Delayed is justice denied”. One must know the fact that a long delay in the disposition of cases creates mistrust of the government itself. It also serves as a refuge of the accused if he is guilty and a continuing injustice if he is innocent.
Likewise, justice is affected not simply by how the court decides the legal merits but also by how the court processes the case. Delay in the court proceedings threatens the very foundation of our criminal justice system. There are so many consequences of court delays; first; it jeopardizes the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. All criminally accused in our society have a right not only to a fair, but to a speedy trial as well. Second, it hampers the society’s need for a speedy conviction as the case becomes older the memories of the witness diminished, the chance for an acquittal arises. Third, delay erodes public confidence in the judicial process. Fourth, it strains criminal justice system resources. Pre-trial detainees dog jail facilities. Police Officers must appear in court on numerous occasions at public expense. Case law or judicial decisions are official interpretation of law made by persons and agencies of the government performing judicial and quasi – judicial functions. Decisions of the Supreme Court bind the lower courts and are a source of law. Section 1 Article VIII of the Constitution vests the judicial power “in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” 2 These lower courts established by law are the courts of first instance in any civil or criminal proceedings between or among disputants. With the bulk of cases handled by each trial court, the length of time needed to decide cases in the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts considerably vary. But with only 1,682 justices and judges in 2,153 courts in the country, the waiting time is expected to be long. Based on 2006 statistics, on the national scale, the total case load of the Judiciary is 745,360, with the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) handling 360, 402 cases, while the Municipal Trial Courts (MTC) 362,000. In 2004, each Regional Trial Court in the country on the average handles 464 cases while each first – leval courts (MTC or...