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Cablegate: Usaid-Funded Project Helps Bring the Philippine Judiciary

VZCZCXRO8259
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1793 2110650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290650Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1429
INFO RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 001793

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV CASC BTIO BEXP EAIR ECON RP
SUBJECT: USAID-Funded Project Helps Bring the Philippine Judiciary
into the Information Age

1. (U) SUMMARY: On July 23, 2008, the Philippine Supreme Court
launched the USAID-funded Automated Case Management-Information
System (CMIS) to address the backlog that has been plaguing the
court system. The CMIS aims to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of the four appellate courts with a uniquely-designed
software program for the Philippine courts that will computerize the
judiciary's case management system. The Ambassador, along with
Chief Justice of the Philippines Reynato S. Puno, presented the
software system along with needed computer hardware components to
the courts. The event demonstrated the USG's ongoing commitment to
enhance judicial efficiency, strengthen judicial capacity, improve
access to justice, and promote greater transparency and
accountability within the democratic processes of the Philippines.
The event received wide media coverage including the top two
national TV networks, all government TV networks, two national radio
stations, and a number of the national daily papers. END SUMMARY

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Unveiling of the CMIS
---------------------

2. (U) On July 23, 2008 the Philippine Supreme Court launched the
USAID-funded CMIS to combat the case backlog and docket congestion.
The Ambassador presented USAID-donated hardware and software to
Chief Justice Reynato Puno and the presiding justices representing
the Court of Appeals, the Court of Tax Appeals and the Sandiganbayan
(Anti-Graft Court). The Ambassador discussed the essential role of
an effective and efficient judiciary in strengthening democratic
processes. The ongoing partnership between the US and the
Philippines was emphasized, while underlining the importance of a
strong commitment from the Philippine courts' leadership to ensure
the proper implementation and continued maintenance for success of
the new system.

3. (U) Closing remarks from Chief Justice Reynato Puno underscored
that the CMIS aims to allow better transparency in court operations
and performance in order to enhance public service. Approximately
40 associate justices and court officers attended the event.

------------------
USG Contribution
------------------

4. (U) At the end of 2007, more than 700,000 cases were pending
before the trial and appellate courts of the Philippines. There was
no automated system to locate, monitor, and manage court cases. In
response to the Supreme Court's announced commitment to eliminate
the backlog, USAID financially supported the development of a
computer system for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of
Tax Appeals and the Sandiganbayan (Anti-Graft Court). The USAID
assistance package also included the donation of 50 desktop
computers, two powerful servers, high speed scanners, computer aided
transcription machines and provision of computer literacy training
to justices and court personnel. USG assistance for the CMIS and
hardware amounted to more than 650,000 dollars.

Kenney

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