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December 01, 2010

New Case Management System for Regional Offices of the Philippine Court of Appeals

December 2010 

From September to October, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in collaboration with the Philippine Court of Appeals and with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s support, trained all 18 justices of the regional courts of appeals (RCAs) and more than 150 court personnel from Cebu and Cagayan de Oro provinces on the use of the newly installed case management information system (CMIS).

A backlog of more than 9,000 cases makes it difficult for the RCAs to track cases, locate files and monitor the history, status and deadline of each case as it passes different court offices. Previously, the courts maintained several databases using both manual indexing and electronic spreadsheets to record and manage their large caseloads, resulting in incomplete and inconsistent data and delays in the judicial process. The CMIS mitigates these deficiencies by harmonizing case information and processes. It will allow the courts to expedite administrative procedures and improve staff access to up-to-date court records, ensuring more timely judicial actions.

The recent trainings familiarized court personnel with accessing the system through web browsers (such as Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox) and with its advanced features, including barcode-based document tracking, smart data entry that helps ensure data consistency and fast search capability. During his welcoming remarks at the trainings, the Honorable Andres Reyes, presiding justice of the Court of Appeals, directed all justices and personnel to integrate CMIS into their daily routines and to take full advantage of its benefits. “This technology is here to stay,” he added.

Court clerks, judicial records officers and court staff said the system will facilitate access to case information without forcing them to rummage through log books and manual indexes. Lucila Cad-Enjambre, an assistant court clerk, said the system will improve their day-to-day work. “The ability to monitor caseloads across all divisions at a glance is already a significant development,” she said. “Everything is accessible and transparent.” Mercedita Ygnacio, a court division clerk, said that the CMIS will help generate reports efficiently. “I particularly like the reminder feature of the CMIS. It will definitely help us be on top of our work.”

Associate Justice Myra Fernandez concurred. She said, “It serves as case-aging indicator, so that we know right away which cases to prioritize for timely disposition.”

The courts have already begun using the CMIS, generating and accessing live data and taking advantage of its user-friendly features to process cases from receipt to adjudication.

To learn more about our work in the Philippines, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>