The sad state of the Philippine Justice system

I ranted about the inefficiency of the Philippine Justice system in a post I wrote 2 years ago entitled “Inefficiency, the mother of all injustice.” Now, I have something to write again about the sad state of the Philippine Justice system.

I received an order in November of last year that one of our cases which was originally set for November 26 was moved to January 28, 2010. Let me state verbatim the reason why the case was postponed (I found myself snickering when I received the order)

“. . . In view of the attendance of the undersigned relative to the seminar on Speedy Trial and Disposition of Cases for Selected Regional Trial Court and Municipal Trial Court Judges in the Visayas on November 26, 2009 at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, the hearing for November 26, 2009 is hereby CANCELLED and RESET to January 28, 2010 at 8:30 oclock in the morning. . . ”

Ha ? They scheduled the reset for 2 months because they are attending a seminar on “SPEEDY” trial and disposition of cases? Now isn’t that ironic!!!

Ok. Delays delays delays. The Philippine Justice system sucks. So what ? I’m stuck with it. Well, I told myself I’ll just wait until January 28. Besides, what’s the rush ? The case is a simple sum of money claim which was filed way back in 2006. It’s more than 4 years now so what’s the rush.

Surprisingly, I received another order of resetting on December of 2009. The words written in the order is basically the same except that the date was January 29, 2010. I figured out that probably the one who made the order mistakenly mailed a new one with an erroneous date. I deduced that most likely the proper date was January 28, 2010. I told myself that I will probably call the court the day before January 28 to confirm.

On January 27, I forgot to call the court to clarify the January 28/29 fiasco. So that left me with no choice. We have to appear in court on January 28.

So on January 28 we were there. We waited for almost 3 hours before the case was called. The defendants were not around. (They must have thought that the hearing was on the 29th and not the 28th considering that a second notice was sent) The judge said that the correct schedule was the 28th and not the 29th considering that the 29th is a Friday and she has a judges meeting she has to attend to.

With that, our case was moved (Again !) to a very convenient date, April 2010. (5 months after the original reset and 6 months after the last hearing. I thought to myself that I consider myself lucky because I heard that in some courts, they are very lucky if they get one hearing a year for a case. Makes me really wonder what they teach the judges in the seminar on Speedy disposition of cases)

Mind you that in this case, the defendant has just begun presenting their evidences. We even only presented one witness to expedite the case. How much more if we presented more witnesses?

With the way things are going, the case will probably be decided in the next 2, 3 or even 4 years ? (No way!) Either way, if whosoever wins or loose decided to appeal the case, it will take another 3 to 5 years for the court of appeals to resolve it. If it goes all the way to the Supreme court then it will probably take another 3 to 5 years, all in all that will be somewhere from 15 to 20 years. All this delay for a very simple collection case which could have been resolved in less than a week or even a day if you consider the facts and evidences.

This is the sad state of the Philippine Justice system. The glamor of the law profession has been tarnished by this inefficiency. Had I known of this when I was still a student, I would not have taken up law.

Don’t get me wrong. I have not lost respect for our courts. There are courts that are efficient and speedy in their disposition of cases. There are truly exceptional judges and court personnel. The Supreme Court has even recently introduced some very innovative, ground breaking and excellent “planned” improvements into our Justice system. I salute the Supreme Court for their efforts.

But the sad state of the Philippine Justice system is that there are more rotten eggs than good ones in the judiciary. The changes that have been implemented are as slow grinding as the wheels of justice itself. (Sorry it really seems that way to me)

I am really sick and frustrated of law practice. I”m getting lots of acne because of this, I might as well get some acne medication heheehhe. I am probably going to hang up my gloves from law practice soon.

Anyway, am just ranting about the harsh realities of law practice. As I tell my students, in this life and in this earth there is no such thing as perfect justice as only God can give perfect justice. The justice system that we have, the Philippine Justice system is the best one that we’ve got and I guess we’re stuck with it.

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6 Responses to The sad state of the Philippine Justice system

  1. iggy says:

    ka sad pud ana

  2. zigfred says:

    iggy: Mao gyud pwerti gyud sada :-(

  3. loi says:

    Very sad indeed but I pray that you don’t hang up those gloves just yet.Daghan sad ma sad, apil na ko (for a lot of reasons).

  4. zigfred says:

    loi: hehehe nag hinay2x na ko og exit. :-) Focus ko ron nalang among business, blogging and possibly real estate hehehehe :-) Patid2x nalang lata practice gud hehehehe :-)

  5. Rudy Mercado says:

    I need a new lawyer. I was new in the Phil and was swindled. YOu seem to be serious and dedicated to your profession. Here is my opinion about our legal system.

    Our laws are so weak, You would get the impression that lawyers are on the side of the criminals. A retired bank president told me that if an employee embezzles 20,000,000 pesos, the MAXIMUM bail money is 20,000 pesos. Whereas, if you bounced a 32,000-peso check, you go to jail.(Bouncing check law) NO BAIL. Wawa kasi mandurokot kung puro cheke dala nyo.
    It was reported that the tax on cigarette is based on 1996 retail price, that is why we can’t collect more taxes on it. It takes an act of congress to change it. Hmm. If that can be done,it is fair to assume that our laws were corrupted in favor or businessmen and lawmakers. Must be looked into.
    Written laws that passed thru Congress are treated as “suggestion only” or reference for law students. Justice system in the Phil seems to be not about justice but about lawyer’s racket. As long as you have money for acceptance fee, right or wrong, he’ll take your case. And right or wrong he will prolong the case for more legalized extortion. That is why it takes years to close a simple case. Judges support delays for job security. They are lawyers too. Simple case like 1+1 = 2. Is not so with the Phil lawyer. It is “ = teka, puedeng pagusapan yan”.
    They also make money for preparing affidavit of loss, denial, etc and notary public, whenever they can milk the public. In America, a lost credit card can be replaced in 2 minutes w/o those affidavits and notary public. Notary public here is also free in banks and pharmacies or it could cost you 25 cents. I wonder how pinoy lawyers could make money here. SONA reported that lawyers make only 7,000 pesos per month based on the submitted income tax return. Halatang nandaraya yet nakakalusot o pinalulusot pa rin ng kapwa lawyers sa DOJ at BIR.
    We need STANDARDIZED WRITTEN LAWS for the country TO BE IMPLEMENTED according to the letter of the law. Laws, not based on opinions, or pakikisama sa kkk. Not based on religion, sex or age or status in life, but on FAIRNESS to all. PUNISHMENT FOR VIOLATORS MUST BE IMPOSED. Walang pakiusapan.

    Good luck sau.
    Rudy

  6. zigfred says:

    Rudy: Thanks for your comments. I fully agree with what you said. With the Aquino administration, I certainly hope that things will change. Despite my frustrations with our country, I still believe there is hope. :-)

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