Supreme Court (SC) chief justice Alexander G. Gesmundo revealed on Friday, Sept. 9, that the high tribunal is currently working on the rules that will allow the conduct of all court proceedings through videoconferencing even after the end of the pandemic.
Speaking as guest of honor at the 130th Foundation Day and Law Day Celebration of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) at Manila Golf & Country Club in Makati City, Gesmundo said the SC’s Committee on Virtual Hearings and Electronic Testimony will come out with the rules soon.
He said new rules is part of the reforms undertaken by the SC under its Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI), its institutional blueprint for the delivery of responsive and real-time justice.
Gesmundo shared that the SPJI “is a plan powered by an Innovation Agenda to review and assess the organizational structure and operations of the various offices of the Judiciary, and to develop and establish an information and communications technology infrastructure for the Philippine Judiciary.”
He said that at the height of the pandemic, the highs court began allowing the trial courts to conduct hearings via fully remote videoconferencing through the promulgation of the Guidelines on the Conduct of Videoconferencing, which institutionalized the conduct of virtual hearings and electronic testimony for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Together, we can usher in the new standard of justice real time — and in doing so, cultivate a wider, deeper, fuller adherence to the rule of law in our country,” the chief magistrate said.
Gesmundo also urged the PBA to invest in the skills and resources needed to enable the technological shift that the SC envisions through its SPJI, which was approved by the court on June 28, 2022 under A.M. No 22-04-26-SC.
He added that he is looking forward to the PBA capitalizing on social media and other technological tools to help in the dissemination of the SPJI to its members and the public, especially after the recent relaunch of the PBA website.
He said: “This will all be very helpful in informing not just our colleagues in this profession, but our people as well…. I hope that the Court can also count on you to push for both the adoption of these reforms in the Judiciary, and the adaptation of your peers in the profession to innovations and technological advances.”
“I know the focus now of the PBA is not just to remain resilient amidst emerging challenges, but to stay relevant especially in the face of evolving technology…. I am happy to see that we are one in this goal,” Gesmundo said. who has been pushing for a technology-driven judiciary since his assumption into office in 2021.