New officers and directors of Philippine Association of Court Employees-Region 8 take their oath before RTC Judge Evelyn Lesigues at the sala of RTC Branch 7.  (by PACE-Region 8)
New officers and directors of Philippine Association of Court Employees-Region 8 take their oath before RTC Judge Evelyn Lesigues at the sala of RTC Branch 7.
(by PACE-Region 8)

TACLOBAN CITY- Supreme Court’s Enhanced Justice on Wheels (EJOW) does not only serve as mobile court to hear cases especially of detention prisoners but is now expanded to include the court-annexed mediation program.
On August 25, all seven branches or salas of Tacloban’s Regional Trial Courts will be doing whole-day EJOW to be witnessed by officials from SC particularly the Philippine Judicial Academy and Philippine Mediation Center Office EJOW Committee.
Executive Judge Alphinor Serrano disclosed that the RTC Tacloban is in thick of preparations for this day which is not just like the EJOW launching had years back but with add-on activities.
Based on the the program of activities finalized by Serrano with concurrence of other judges, besides promulgation of judgment by all RTC Tacloban branches to be held at the EJOW bus, there will be other events based on suggestions given to the RTC.
There will be jail visitation with medical and dental services at the Tacloban City Jail and at the Leyte Provincial Jail, dialogue among SC officials, RTC and city judges and invited government officials, and orientation-lecture on strategic planning management system to be attended by clerks of court and branch clerks of court and court personnel.
Serrano, however, disclosed that the EJOW bus will only be in Tacloban until August 25 this year after it served as temporary sala for newly created branches in RTC Tacloban that is Branch 43 presided by RTC Tacloban Vice Executive Judge Evelyn Riños-Lesigues and Branch 44 presided by Judge Eligio Petilla.
The EJOW bus, parked for long time now at the compound of RTC Tacloban, was brought to this city after the onslaught of supertyphoon “Yolanda” in November 2013 to serve as sala for courts in Tacloban that were destroyed in the storm surge.
The EJOW bus was later designated by the SC and Office of Court Administrator as regular court sala of RTC Tacloban Branches 43 and 44 at sharing system.
“This could be in response to the communication that the Supreme Court received from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Leyte Chapter,” Serrano said.
In a letter to Serrano dated July 12 of this year, SC Deputy Court Administrator Thelma Bahia informed that IBP Leyte contended in its Resolution No. 13 series of 2016 that the conduct of hearings at the EJOW buses is not conducive to the health of judges, court personnel and the court users.
“The exhaust fume of the bus, the engine of which is running to enable the air conditioning unit to operate, pervade the surroundings, forcing litigants to inhale them,” the report said.
Bahia requested Serrano “to coordinate with the presiding judges and acting presiding judges of the other branches (in RTC Tacloban) if they could share the use of their courtrooms for Branches 43 and 44.
Branch 44 will share with Branch 6, while 43 with Branch 8, Serrano informed.
Bahia also informed Serrano that the rehabilitation of the existing City Hall of Justice with the construction of new building is one of the priority infrastructure projects of the Court.
“The procurement of a Detailed Architectural and Engineering Design (DAED) Consultant that shall come up with the resilient and green building design will be initiated within the year by the Bids and Awards Committee for the Hall of Justice (BAC-HOJ),” Bahia stated in the letter.
Besides the EJOW, the High Court has multifarious initiatives towards speedy disposition of cases, one of which is the Judicial Dispute Resolution where judges themselves conduct the mediation hearing.
“The court also participates in the mediation not only the Philippine Mediation Center through the JDR,” Serrano said.
This mediation procedure can already be had in E-JOW bus in areas where there are no courts or mediation offices available. The EJOW bus will be travelling to Samar then back to the Supreme Court compound in Padre Faura, Manila.
Meanwhile, the new set of officers and directors of the Philippine Association of Court Employees Region 8 chapter took their oath of office before Judge Evelyn Lesigues.
The new officers are Eileen Ballesteros (president and regional director); Antonio Norombaba Jr (vice president); Joevic Corales (secretary); Leila Legaspi-Cinco (treasurer and PACE national treasurer); Atty. Claire Sablan-Agbon (auditor); Ma. Christina Astilla-Sonon (PIO); and members of the Board of Directors Emilio Tampon Jr (No. Samar), Mirasol Catamco (Eastern Samar), Ofelia Belizar (Samar), Bernardo Belciña (Biliran), Atty. Melinda Lim-Docena (So. Leyte), Lilia Gal (Calbayog City), Elizabeth Corrales (Catbalogan City), Atty. Paul Plaza (Tacloban); Atty. Maria Pamela Oliver (Ormoc City).
The PACE is the officially bargaining unit of court employees recognized by the Supreme Court.