‘Justice on Wheels’ frees 100 Cebu, Mandaue inmates

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A total of 100 inmates from the Cebu provincial jail and Mandaue city jail were released from detention after the Supreme Court’s “Justice on Wheels” conducted a speedy trial of their cases in a bid to address a problem in the justice system in the country.

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The inmates had been detained at the provincial and city jails, most of them señior citizens and female, and have been languishing for at least three years waiting trial of their cases.

Mandaue and Lapu Lapu City each have only three regional trial court branches.

The Supreme Court (SC) will assign five more court branches starting next week in a move to decongest the two jails.

SC Administrator Jose Madias Marquez, in a statement, said they have relaunched the “Justice on Wheels” program nationwide to address the problem of lack of courtroom affecting the speedy disposition of cases.

The program reviews and tries cases that are overdue in terms of regular court hearings.

A judge from the High Court was assigned to conduct the hearings while lawyers from the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) with several private counsels assisted the detainees during hearings.

One of the detainees, Jose, has been detained for more than four years.

He was ordered release from jail on Wednesday after the judge dismissed the murder case filed against him for lack of merit.

The Mandaue City Jail can only accommodate 100 inmates but it holds about 2,000 detainees at present.

RENAN ALANGILAN

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