Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday suggested that the government take a dual approach in improving the country’s justice system, with the strengthening of the barangay justice system as the primary way to lessen the burden on courts.
“We can take a dual approach, on one hand providing y’ung mga kulang – facilities, more prosecutors, y’ung kanilang computers, books, internet , etcetera – but at the same time, look at the bigger picture of social justice in the country and how we can make it a less litigious society,” Cayetano said at the hearing on the Department of Justice’s proposed 2023 budget on September 20, 2022.
Citing a Biblical principle laid out in Matthew 18:15-17 where conflicts between members of the same church are resolved within the congregation, the senator suggested strengthening the community-based barangay justice system in order to defuse disputes before they become cases that end up clogging the courts.
To achieve this, he said the barangay justice system should be strengthened because it still has some limitations.
“Sa ngayon kasi ang limitasyon nung sa barangay ay dapat magkabarangay y’ung parehong parties, pero y’ung Lupon is for me very effective, kaya nga may limitations lang,” Cayetano said, referring to the Lupong Tagapamayapa which brings together parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of disputes.
Cayetano said while the easier thing to do is to pour money into the justice system to add to its facilities and personnel, a more long-term solution would be to strengthen values education in the country so that people are empowered to avoid getting into legal trouble in the first place.
“The natural thing to do is to advocate, to lobby both sa Supreme Court at sa Department of Justice for more fiscals, more judges, more facilities, but that would mean that we are becoming a much more litigious society,” he said.
“I know na long-term, baka sa Department of Education ‘to, we need to teach our younger people values and para hindi na magkademandahan,” he added.