THE Valenzuela City government has opened the P81-million, fully integrated three-storey Mediterranean-inspired building as new home for its nine Regional Trial Courts, according to Mayor Rex Gatchalian.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Valenzuela RTC Executive Judge Maria Nena Santos, Vice Executive Judge Emma Matammu, City Administrator Alan Roullo Yap and Mayor Gatchalian lead the inauguration of the 3,009 square-meter structure which boasts of 7 new courtrooms and other mandatory amenities of a modern hall of justice.

It will be one of the first ICTO (information and communication technology office)-integrated halls of justice in the country.
Aside from being Wi-Fi ready, it has a family court where CCTVs shall be employed in hearing sexual aggression cases and in documenting testimonies of victims to avoid face-to-face confrontation with the suspect.

It is also one of the first to have a digitization room where court records shall be maintained electronically to better deliver justice and address the delay in the resolution of cases, the mayor said.

During the tour with the Chief Justice in the facility, the mayor pledged to support the implementation of e-Litigation system locally.

It is an electronic case management system that organizes cases digitally, from filing of complaints to resolution and enforcement.

The local government shall compliment the software of the judiciary with necessary hardware to uphold transparency in local court decisions.

The local government has long been supporting the local judiciary, which the mayor said is still among the most trusted institutions in the country.

“We often hear words, such as, ‘I will sue you’, ‘See you in court’. This is a sign that the people feel confident that they have refuge when they feel injustice,” the chief executive said.

CJ Sereno was lost for words and calls the structure ‘the most dignified’ of all halls of justice she has visited so far. “I am confident that Valenzuela will not only be famous as the gateway to the north, it will also be known as the gateway to justice,” she said.

Mayor Gatchalian has also promised the development of a mobile app for real time announcement of court schedules, as well, as a LED screen where a judge’s decision will be flashed instantaneously.

He revealed that the old Hall of Justice shall be renovated and expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2018 to house the Metropolitan Trial Court branches, the Fiscal’s Office, the Parole and Probation Office, the Public Attorney’s Office and the Mediation Office.

The inauguration is part of Valenzuela City’s 394th Foundation Day Anniversary celebration, it was learned. GOOD RIDDANCE/ARLIE CALALO

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