The Sandiganbayan intends to speed up the disposition of cases this year as it announced that it was able to resolve more cases in 2016 compared to the previous year.
According to the anti-graft court’s Judicial Records Division (JRD), the Sandiganbayan was able to dispose of 351 cases as of November 30, 2016.
“As of November of 2016, there has been an increase of around 70 decided cases… last year, ang cases na na-dispose namin [the number of cases we disposed of]was 276. As of November of this year… 351,” Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang told reporters in an interview in December.
“And hanggang November lang ito [the tally is just until November], I think before the end of the year mayroon pa rin kaming mga cases na made-decide [there will be more cases that will be decided]… so hopefully this will still increase before the end of the year,” Tang added.
When asked if the disposition of cases will be swift in 2017, the magistrate answered in the affirmative.
“Yes. In fact, we’re now doing something actually. We are conducting an inventory of our cases and we are trying to look into the areas… where there has been delay and what has caused the delay so that we can address [these issues]to speed up the resolution of the cases,” Tang said.
According to the JRD, as of November 30, 2016, the Office of the Ombudsman filed 1,250 cases before the anti-graft court.
Most of the 172 cases filed in November were malversation charges (111). The others include graft charges (44), falsification charges (9), “Others” (4), “Other Offense Committed by Public Officers” (2), one bribery charge, and one special civil action.
The number of cases pending before the court when 2016 began was 3,206 while 59 cases were revived.
When added to the cases filed by the Ombudsman, the figures (pending cases at the start of 2016 and revived cases) represented the court’s total workload of 4,515 cases. The disposal of 351 cases during the year left 4,164 cases pending as of November 30, 2016.
Most of the 351 disposed cases were dismissed. There were 75 convictions and 41 acquittals.
The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division resolved the most number of cases so far with 86 disposed cases, according to the same data from the JRD.
It is followed by the Fifth Division with 73 disposed cases, the Second Division with 71 disposed cases, First Division with 52 disposed cases, and the Third Division with 45 cases.
The court’s Sixth and Seventh Divisions — the two divisions that have been added to the court — have disposed of 17 and 7 cases, respectively.
Tang confirmed that the two new divisions helped in speeding up the Sandiganbayan’s disposition of cases.
In 2015, former President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed into law a measure which aimed to expedite the resolution of cases at the Sandiganbayan by adding two court divisions with three justices each, among other changes. REINA TOLENTINO