SC sends ‘justice buses’ to remote areas

MANILA -- Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta ordered the deployment of mobile courthouses to bring justice to far-flung areas aimed at helping resolve cases and decongest jails in the country.

Two mobile courts of the SC's Enhanced Justice on Wheels (EJOW) program were sent to Sultan Kudarat on Thursday to hold simultaneous hearings and mediation proceedings on pending cases involving detained persons.

Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, said 33 of the 42 cases heard in one day were dismissed and five detainees were released.

Professors from the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA) also gave lectures to more than 1,000 barangay leaders in Sultan Kudarat's capitol grounds in the EJOW bus.

SC officials, led by Marquez and Deputy Court Administrator for Mindanao Leo T. Madrazo, also visited the Isulan district jail where 1,200 persons are detained.

Medical and dental missions and a free legal aid drive were conducted inside the jail as part of EJOW, Marquez said.

Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto T. Mangudadatu and his wife, Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu; members of the Sultan Kudarat provincial board, judges, prosecutors, lawyers from the Public Attorneys' Office, and private law practitioners from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines participated in the activity.

The first mobile court travelled Metro Manila roads in 2004 for the SC's 23-day pilot run covering several youth reception centers, juvenile detention facilities and jails.

The fully air-conditioned EJOW bus has a presiding judge, a clerk of court, a prosecutor, a public attorney, a court stenographer, a docket clerk, a process server, a driver, and a security guard.

About 12,000 inmates had been released through the EJOW project and more than 10,000 civil disputes settled.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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