Jun 182013
(Updated 3:06 p.m.) At least 130 inmates were freed on Tuesday after trial courts simultaneously heard and decided on cases in five cities with the most inmate population, including Manila and Quezon City.

Court Administrator Midas Marquez, who led the event dubbed as “Judgment Day” at the Manila City Jail, said the event aimed to decongest court dockets and prison cells by acting on pending cases, especially minor ones.

“It’s not really about iyong nature ng kaso but more on ano na ang nangyari sa kaso. Gaano katagal na ‘yung kaso. Iyon ang tinitignan natin,” he told reporters.

“Halimbawa minor offense siya. Limang beses nang nai-set pero ‘di sumisipot mga private complainants. Baka puwedeng provisional dismissal ng case muna iyon,” he added.

Apart from Manila, simultaneous hearings were also conducted in four other highly prisoner-populated cities like Quezon City, Cebu City, Davao City, and Angeles City in Pampanga.

The hearings were ongoing as of posting time Marquez. As of 2 p.m., Marquez said a total of 115 cases were heard in Manila, with 75 detainees ending up being ordered released.

In Angeles City, 68 cases were heard, 55 of which arrived at a decision, resulting in the release of 43 inmates. In Cebu City, 12 inmates were freed.

“Some hearings still on going, particularly in Quezon City and Davao City,” Marquez said.

At the Manila City Jail, home to more than 3,000 inmates, some 30 Manila judges conducted simultaneous hearings inside the facility’s basketball court.

The hearings also aimed to shorten the period of detention of senior citizens under “mitigating circumstances.

“Those in need of proper medical attention “will get necessary order from the judge,” Marquez said.

Asked how soon can an acquitted person be released, Marquez said: “Kung ngayon may judgment na sila, by afternoon or tomorrow dapat ‘yan (palayain na).”

Marquez said the simultaneous hearings were an “offspring” of an earlier SC project called “Justice on Wheels,” in which trial proceedings were held inside court buses that traveled to far-flung areas that had a shortage in courts.

“Doon gumugulong ‘yung korte. Ang korte ang pumupunta sa mga lugar na nangangailangan ng korte at dinidinig ang kaso sa lugar na yun,” he said, adding that there are currently nine court buses making the rounds.

Marquez said “Judgment Day” was being carried out as part of the Supreme Court’s 112th anniversary, which the judiciary celebrated last June 11, as well as in celebration of the Community Relations Service Month this June. — KBK, GMA News

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