Davao City court holds first ever teleconference hearings in PH
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Two high-risk inmates involved in separate cases in Davao City faced the court Monday morning, September 2, but without jail guards having to taking security precautions in transporting them to and from the court room.
Judge Emmanuel Carpio of Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 16 conducted the first ever video conference hearing in the Philippines on Monday.
Starting at around 8:30 am, he was done in 15 minutes with the arraignment of Leonilo Gonzales, an alleged New People’s Army member currently detained in Davao City Jail for an attempted murder case, and the pre-trial of Romart Mandi Uy, a suspect in a frustrated murder case.
Two widescreen LCD television sets were installed inside Carpio's sala, showing the accused and the courtroom. The judge, the lawyers of both sides, and the accused had access to microphones, while a telephone line was set up for the private communication of the accused and their counsels.
“This is a very momentous day for the courts because this is an initial project of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), which found the need to conduct this video teleconferencing trial,” Judge Carpio said.
The BJMP in Region XI (Davao Region) in 2017 proposed the adoption of teleconferencing technology as alternative to physical court appearances of inmates who posed “considerable threat to the security of our facilities as well as the community.”
There are high-value targets detained in 3 jails in Davao City, the jail management agency said.
The Supreme Court en banc approved on June 25, 2019, a two-year pilot test of video teleconference hearings. It said the setup can be used in all stages of criminal proceedings: arraignment, pre-trial, bail hearing, trial proper, and promulgation of judgement.
Carpio said the use of this technology also ensures the security of judges and lawyers, and helps save time and transportation costs for the BJMP.
Video teleconferencing technology can also be used when inmates up for court appearance are suffering from contagious diseases or are too sick to travel to the courtroom. – Rappler.com