SC Chief Justice Peralta bids farewell to judiciary ahead of early retirement

Robie de Guzman   •   March 22, 2021   •   403


MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta on Monday bid goodbye to his fellow justices and employees of the judiciary, days ahead of his scheduled retirement on March 27.

During his last flag-raising ceremony as chief magistrate, Peralta enumerated the achievements of the judiciary branch under his helm, which was marked with challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and other issues concerning members of the legal profession.

“Under my helm, the Supreme Court has formulated and approved 18 procedural rules and guidelines meant to improve the administration of justice and address the problem of clogged court dockets,” he said.

The high court restructured and streamlined the plantilla of various offices, divisions, and services of the Court “so as to guarantee the security of tenure for the employees and to improve our processes,” Peralta said.

“We have established the Judiciary Public Assistance Section (JPAS), to promptly receive and act on concerns, issues, suggestions, and other relevant matters including complaints against erring court officials and employees,” he said.

He also organized the Judicial Integrity Board to further prevent and curb corruption in the judiciary.

Peralta will retire from service on March 27, a year ahead of his mandatory retirement at the age of 70. This is after the Supreme Court en banc approved his application for early retirement last January.

He thanked everyone for their support throughout his 34-year career in government service.

“I will forever remember the fond memories I have of working for and with all of you,” he said.

“While I prepare to hang my judicial robe, this is definitely not the end of us seeing each other. Rest assured that I will still make myself available to the Supreme Court if I’m and when the time comes that my assistance is needed,” he added.

Peralta started his public career in 1987 as the Third Assistant City Fiscal of Laoag City then went on to become a regional trial court judge in 1994.

He was named associate justice of the Sandiganbayan in 2002 and became its presiding justice in 2008 before he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to Supreme Court’s top post on October 23, 2019.

Restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic prompted the Supreme Court to conduct a 30-minute hybrid flag-raising ceremony, which was a scale-down from the traditional last flag-raising ceremony given to a retiring chief magistrate.

The Supreme Court said the ceremony was without any arrival honors and attended only by a select few Court employees mostly coming from the Office of the Chief Justice, including the Chief Justice’s immediate family ― his wife Court of Appeals Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta and children.

Other attendees participated virtually.

There were no photo opportunities as the outgoing chief justice immediately retreated to his office after his speech, the SC Public Information Office said.


Work in NCR Courts suspended Wednesday due to inclement weather – SC

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has ordered the suspension of work in all courts in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the inclement weather, the high court’s Public Information Office (PIO) said Wednesday.

The work suspension will take effect at 12 noon, according to a memorandum posted on the SC PIO’s social media account.

It covers the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, Sandganbayan, and all National Capital Judicial Region courts.

The order also covers offices under the Office of the Court Administrator, Presidential Electoral Tribunal and the Judicial and Bar Council.

The state weather bureau on Wednesday morning raised heavy rainfall warnings over parts of Metro Manila and nearby areas due to the effects of the southwest monsoon, which is being enhanced by the Typhoon Fabian and a severe tropical storm outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

Supreme Court approves rules on use of PNP body cams

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has approved the guidelines on the use of body cameras in police operations with an aim to promote transparency and uphold the constitutional rights of individuals.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the guidelines will be issued once it has been signed by court justices.

The guidelines would take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or newspapers of general circulation.

“The court en banc approved already the final draft but of course it will have to be printed in the gilbert, you know that. And its members would have to sign the final resolution. Hopefully, by Friday it will be signed and duly promulgated,” Gesmundo said.

High court justices recently met with PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar to discuss the rules on the use of body cameras when serving arrest, search, and seizure warrants.

In crafting the guidelines, Gesmundo said the court took into account the “delicate balancing act of ensuring an individual’s constitutional rights vis-à-vis arrest, search, and seizure.

“As far as the meeting with PNP is concerned, we clarified that we crafted the rule in such a way that there’s a balancing between the protection of individuals vis a vis constitutional rights and the rules will not hamper the operations of law enforcement agencies,” the chief magistrate said.

“We were both positive in our discussions, in fact, they themselves the PNP has promulgated its own rules on the use of body-worn cameras during their operations. So we are optimistic that something will definitely come out of it to address these current issues on law enforcement operations,” he added.

Gesmundo previously said that the Court will make an arrangement soonest with the Philippine Judicial Academy, the SC’s judicial education arm, to provide the training of all those involved in the implementation of these rules. He added that the PNP may also want to send participants to this training.

Eleazar earlier said that the use of body-worn cameras can guard against incidents of police abuse as the new system allows the PNP Command Center to monitor the actual police operations of all units nationwide.

The cameras are also tamper-proof and cannot be manually turned off by policemen wearing them.

PH Supreme Court orders flags in courthouses at half-mast to honor Aquino

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered courthouses across the country to lower all flags at half-staff to honor the late former President Benigno Aquino III.

“The Supreme Court of the Philippines orders all flags in courthouses nationwide be flown at half-mast beginning today in view of the passing of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III,” the SC Public Information Office said.

Three of the 14 incumbent SC justices – Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa – were appointed by Aquino when he served as the country’s president from 2010 to 2016.

Aquino passed away Thursday morning at the age of 61.

His family said Aquino died “peacefully in his sleep” at 6:30 a.m. from renal disease secondary to diabetes.


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