Feasibility study, budget lack, stall building of new courts

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol October 16,2014 - 08:31 AM

There’s no definite area picked yet for a permanent building, so it may take some time before Cebu City will have a new Palace of Justice.

Also, a feasibility study has yet to be done to determine where the city’s courthouse will be constructed, disclosed Judge Geraldine Faith Econg, head of the Supreme Court’s (SC) Program Management Office.

“They’re saying ‘we want it here, we want it there.’. But what’s their basis in saying that?” she asked.

“For good reasons, there has to be feasibility study. We’re talking of a long-term project which involves a large amount of money,” she added.

The Supreme Court (SC) has no budget for it now.

The SC had requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to include in the 2015 budget P500 million for the feasibility study, but the DBM dropped it.

“The doors are not closed yet. The SCt is trying hard to have the amount included in the bicameral committee,” Econg said.

The estimated cost for the construction is P1 billion.

Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier vowed to help look for funding to build a new courthouse in Cebu City but he said only half of the P1 billion can be considered in next year’s national budget.

In the meantime, Econg said judges and court employees in Cebu City shall hold office at Qimonda I.T. Center at the North Reclamation Area.

The Hi gh Court is paying P1.2 million as monthly rental fee to Qimonda.

The SC also released P36 million for the construction of partitioned courtrooms at the third and fourth floors of the center.

The SC is eyeing to build on a lot donated by the Cebu city government to the Court of Appeals at the South Road Properties.

But Econg said the Cebu provincial government has offered a bigger lot inside the Department of Agriculture compound in barangay Guadalupe.

She said the High Court is weighing its options and there’s a chance that it will choose another lot.

“There are many things to be considered like accessibility, safety, and even traffic conditions,” Econg said.

“For now, Cebu City judges, prosecutors, lawyers, employees and court users have to remain in Qimonda. I know they are inconvenienced. But nobody wanted this; nobody wanted the earthquake to happen,” she added.

Judges and court employees have been complaining about the heat inside the building.

Air-conditioning units are being installed at the third and fourth floors where they will be transferred next month.

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TAGS: Department of Budget and Management, Palace of Justice, Supreme Court
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