MANILA – In a bid to bring the courts and justice closer to the people, the Supreme Court launched on Monday the Judiciary Public Assistance Section (JPAS) or the Judiciary Help Desk, a new service that may be reached by email, phone or snail mail to raise concerns within the judiciary.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta led the launch of the JPAS, one of the items in his ten-point agenda when he first took office in late October.
“In the exigency of service and in order to address the needs of the general public, it is important to have an official line of communication between the Judiciary, its stakeholders, and the general public to give attention to requests for assistance and information, queries, and concerns,” he told a gathering of court personnel.
He was joined by Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, as well as Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and SC Public Information Office (SCPIO) chief Brian Keith Hosaka.
Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta were also present.
The JPAS is composed of three units: the help desk unit, the hotline unit and the email messaging unit.
The help desk unit is located at the ground floor of the SC Centennial Building while the hotline unit may be reached through 3 landline numbers: (02) 8552-6185 for the Office of the Chief Justice, and (02) 8552-9644 and (02) 8552-9646 for the help desk unit.
Both units are manned by Peralta’s staff and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Meanwhile, the email messaging unit may be reached through email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a way of testing the hotline, the chief justice received a call from a reporter asking about the request of media organizations to air live the promulgation of judgment in the Maguindanao massacre multiple murder case on Thursday.
Peralta referred the inquiry to the SCPIO and the Office of the Court Administrator.
The top magistrate said he will personally monitor all messages and complaints and has ordered his staff to attend to them promptly.
“All queries must be answered within 15 days of the receipt of the inquiries, except of course those that will be referred to me—complaints against judges or members of the Judiciary,” he said.
“I will have to study them thoroughly, but I will maintain strict confidentiality of all these reports that I will be receiving even from anonymous callers, or even an anonymous complaint, or even just a simple message transmitted to me. I will treat them with strict confidentiality,” he added.