The government officially launched on Wednesday, April 30, the e-Subpoena system aimed at helping secure better attendance of police witnesses in criminal cases.
At a formal ceremony held at Camp Crame in Quezon City, Court Administrator Midas Marquez and Philippine National Police deputy director-general Leonardo Espina signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) paving the way for the adoption the an online-based subpoena system.
SC chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Department of Justice (DOJ) sec. Leila de Lima, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) sec. Mar Roxas also attended the event and stood as witnesses.
The e-Subpoena, which was approved by the SC en banc, is a Web-based system designed to prevent delay in disposition of cases caused by non-attendance of PNP witnesses.
Based on initial information, it appears that the online system will only be used by the courts to send e-subpoena to police personnel and not to private litigants in court.
The electronic system, an initiative of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council, will be piloted at the Quezon City trial courts and in PNP stations in the city.
In a report, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said the e-Subpoena process starts with the clerk of court sending the details of the subpoena via the Internet to a police unit where a police witness is assigned.
“The Chief of Police of that unit will then acknowledge the subpoena, print a copy, and hand it to the witness,” the report said.
Sereno called the e-Subpoena system a “breakthrough,” saying delays caused by non-appearance of witnesses can be attributed to the country’s archaic postal system.
De Lima, on the other hand, said that while it took a long time before the government finally used technology to enhance court processes, initial work towards computerization has nonetheless commenced under the current administration.