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Quezon judicial reform group supports new CJ Bersamin’s anti-corruption drive in judiciary

by John A. Bello

LUCENA CITY - A budding local judicial reform group here called Judicial Reform Integrated Stakeholders (JURIS) organization has expressed support to the new Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and suggest to make Abra and Quezon his pilot project to kick off his anti-corruption drive in the judiciary in the country.

“We at JURIS fully support Chief Justice Bersamin’s priority to weed out the corrupt in the judiciary and suggest to make Abra and Quezon as his pilot project to start his anti-corruption campaign in the judiciary in the whole country,” said Hobart Dator, Jr., JURIS prime mover.

Dator said JURIS believes that a fresh campaign in weeding out judicial corruption has to start somewhere and Bersamin’s home province and Quezon makes it ideal to make a dent in public consciousness for the matter of curbing corruption and pursuing judicial reform.

Dator particularly cited the creation last Oct. of 2 permanent Supreme Court bodies: the Judicial Integrity Board which would act on complaint against erring justices, judges and court personnel and Corruption Prevention and Investigation Office which will investigate, gather intelligence, subject to surveillance, entrap or conduct a lifestyle check on justices, judges and other court employees.

“I am elated with the creation of these two SC anti-corruption bodies and hope that they would put the fear of God to these judicial ‘misfits and bandits’ in our judicial system and lead to its cleansing for the good of our country,” he said.

Quezon has long been mired in judicial corruption and it is about time the highest official in the judiciary trains its spotlight to banish scalawags among prosecutors and judges in the province, JURIS claims in a statement.

JURIS seeks to be at the forefront in the advocacy for judicial transformation in Quezon and wants to invite Bersamin to grace the group’s planned launching at the Southern Luzon State University in Lucban.

Dator said he plans to personally write a letter to Bersamin this coming week to express JURIS support for the chief magistrate’s advocacy against corruption at the level of RTC judges and provincial prosecutors.

Dator heads various advocacy groups in the past such as Save Mt. Banahaw Movement and Save Quezon Province Movement for his environmental and civic-oriented concerns in the province.

He has proposed the periodic reshuffle and transfer of provincial prosecutors and regional trial court judges in the province to prevent inordinate camaraderie which usually breeds corruption and other ‘monkey business’ in the judiciary.

Dator wanted speedy resolution of the jailed inmates’ cases in Quezon for many of them had been languishing in prison because of judges and prosecutors criminal neglect to give them due process within the mandated time frame of their cases.