The Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) under Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Reynato Puno launched last Friday Court-Annexed Mediation (CAM) program for the provinces of Laguna and Cavite during the Orientation Conference with stakeholders at Technopark Hotel here.
A full day briefing on CAM was moderated by Salvador C. Vilches, Mediation Supervisor of Philippine Mediation Center Office (PMCO), with an overview and Historical Background of Court-Annexed Mediation in the Philippines discussed by PHILJA Chief of Office for PMC Bernardo T. Ponferrada while the important roles of the court administrator, judges and court personnel in court-annexed mediation explained in detail by Supreme Court Administrator Jose P. Perez.
Those who attended were judges of: 27 Regional Trial Courts of the two provinces, 9 Municipal Trial Court in cities, 16 Municipal Trial Courts, 11 Municipal Circuit Trial Courts and their corresponding Clerks of Court. Also invited to attend the conference were prospective mediators from Integrated Bar of the Philippines, local government units, NGO’s and other stakeholders.
CAM is a process of settling disputes with the assistance of an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party called mediator who is acting as officer of the court in resolving disputes from which any agreement reach becomes the basis for the court decision on the case. The mediator will assist the court in decongesting court dockets, however if the mediation failed, any confidential information a documents obtained will not be used pro or against any party involve in the case.
All judges are required by SC to set aside cases subject for mediation before undergoing trial proper under the program.
The coverage of CAM includes all civil cases, settlement of estates and cases covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure, except those which by law may not be compromised; cases cognizable by the Lupong Tagapamayapa under Katarungang Pambarangay Law; Civil cases of Batas Pambansa Bldg. 22; civil aspect of quasi-offenses under Title 14 of the Revised Penal Code; civil aspect of estafa and libel cases where damages are sought and simple theft under Article 308, paragraph 3 to 8 of Revised Penal Code.
The program requires establishment of PMC units in Laguna and Cavite that will provide a system for the recruitment, screening, training and accreditation of Mediators. CAM started during the incumbency of former Chief Justice Hilarion Davide Jr. and was institutionalized by Chief Justice Reynato Puno. (NANI CORTEZ, Pres. Seven Lakes Press Corps)