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MANILA, Philippines – How can Philippine judges and court officials unleash the power of social media?
Certainly not by posting details affecting impending decisions on cases filed, said Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during her keynote speech at the 2015 Manila Social Good Summit held Saturday, September 26, at the Resorts World Manila.
She, however, believes there is value in utilizing the platform to let court outsiders see the world though the eyes of the men and women who deliver justice through adjudication.
“I think of the potential that can be unleashed if we were to start a national conversation on the state of the Filipino family as seen in the eyes of family court judges,” she said, adding that there is value in deducing court evidence-based patterns on human behavior.
Appearing emotional, she said: “We judges also have a story to tell.”
She cited cases of human trafficking and the experience of legal professionals for “more decades than we care to count.” (READ: IBP volunteer-lawyers help fight abuse of women, children)
“We also need to hear a shoutout for the brave men and women” behind court processes, she said.
In her speech, Sereno explained her doubts on using social media regularly, including issues on sub judice which may cause prejudice on pending cases.
“I hesitate to give my blessing in using social media platform regularly if we want to maintain a degree of aloofness,” she said, explaining that the judiciary is the most formal of the 3 government branches.
Despite her doubts, she said she sees “the potential of social media in the judiciary.”
“I am willing to listen, learn,” she added.
Making a pop culture reference that drew laughter from the crowd, Sereno hoped judicial reform can be as well-received online as the viral segment featuring a love team on a noontime variety show.
“If only a fraction of the attention given to AlDub can be lavished on issues in reforming the justice system,” she said.
“If only a hashtag such as #HustisyaNgayonNa can be retweeted to give justice reform both public support and urgency as a national priority, if only netizens will appreciate the initiative and creativity of our judges in using technology and home-grown management solutions to bring about justice, then truly, the Filipino people will reap the best that the technology can offer,” she added.
Sereno prefaced her speech by saying she agreed to attend the 2015 Manila Social Good Summit as a guest despite her heavy workload “to gain more support for the reform [in the judiciary] that is going on right now.”
The first female leader of the 15-member High Court shared her vision of a technology-savvy judiciary to the summit crowd. (READ: Sereno: Tech-savvy courts less prone to corruption)
Appointed relatively young to her present post, the 54-year-old Sereno has 16 more years as chief justice until the mandatory retirement of 70 – a rare and golden opportunity to institute long-lasting judicial reforms.
The 2015 Manila Social Good Summit focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals adopted by world leaders on September 25 at the United Nations General Assembly including injustice. – Rappler.com