By Jeffrey Damicog
Around 20 percent of courts nationwide are vacant and in need of judges, revealed Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.
“Twenty percent ang vacancy natin (We have a 20 percent vacancy),” disclosed Peralta citing reports from Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.
Chief Justice lamented that one of the reasons for the vacancies is that “there are some stations where there are no takers.”
Aside from this, Peralta said that there are also restrictions under the Constitution which requires a selection of at least three candidates for a particular post.
“If there are only two applicants you cannot fill that up because according to Constitution you need three names to submit to the President,” he explained.
On the other hand, the chief magistrate expressed hope that Judges-at-Large Act of 2019 that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last September would be able to address this problem.
“We can assign the judge-at-large to handle the cases at the station where there are no judges there,” Peralta explained the law passed by Duterte.
“We will be solving part of the vacancy problem with the appointment of judges-at-large,” he added.
Meanwhile, he revealed that there is a move now in Congress to fund the appointment of at least 100 judges-at-large.
“If that budget will be included to fund the salaries and expenses of judges-at-large, next year we will solve that problem of 20 percent vacancy,” he said.