Padilla wants court hearings, rulings in Filipino language

By: Daniza Fernandez - Inquirer.net | September 20,2022 - 08:29 AM

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Robin Padilla is pushing to have all proceedings and verdicts made in the Filipino language.

Padilla expressed frustration at the Senate finance committee hearing on the budget for the judiciary, saying that many inmates do not comprehend why they were in jail because judgments were in English.

“Sorry po, ‘di naman po ako nagdi-discriminate pero halos 80 percent ng atin pong mga nakakulong, ‘di po nila naiintidihan talaga kung paano po sila sa hearing, kung paano po sila nasintensyahan, papa’no sila makakalabas,” said Padilla, who was jailed for more than three years due to illegal possession of firearms.

(No discrimination intended, but almost 80% of those in jail do not understand what they should expect in the hearing, how they would be sentenced, or what their options are.)

“‘Di po ba pwede magkaroon din po ng Filipino na desisyon o proseso ng kanilang hearing?” the neophyte senator asked.

(Can the decision or the hearing process also be given in Filipino?)

However, Court Administrator Raul Villanueva said that a translator is present during hearings.

“Una muna po, ang atin pong mga hearings na tinatawag sa korte, pwede ho ang Tagalog. Meron po tayong interpreter, that is allowed po pagka ‘yung pong akusado gusto po niya magsalita in Tagalog or any dialect in that matter, pwede po yun. Mare-record nga lang po gaya ng punto niyo, in English,” Villanueva replied.

(First, our court hearings can be in Tagalog. We have an interpreter that is allowed if the accused want to speak Tagalog or any dialect. The records, however, will be, as you said, in English.)

“Siguro ‘yung mungkahi po ninyo, ang Supreme Court po, may tinatawag na Strategic Plan for Innovation and for Judicial, strategic plan for five years, 2022 to judicial innovation… Kinakailangan ‘yung lenggwahe na gagamitin ay maliban sa Ingles po, that will have to be looked into, Your Honor, kasi — pasensya na po kayo — that will require some deliberations and reforms na talagang major reforms that will render decisions po,” he added.

(Maybe your proposal, we have what we call Strategic Plan for Innovation and Judicial, strategic plan for five years, 2022 for judicial innovation… The language used, aside from English, will have to be looked into, Your Honor, because — I apologize — that will require some deliberations and significant reforms that will render decisions.)

The equal use of Filipino and English languages is among the priority measures of Padilla.

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