Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday said the judiciary has already been implementing measures aimed at promoting transparency in the judicial branch.
Sereno made the statement in response to the call of President Duterte for the Supreme Court to allow public access to information on affairs of the judiciary.
In a statement issued by the SC public information office, the chief magistrate pointed out that the judiciary has already implemented reforms as part of its transparency program since 2012, even without the Freedom of Information law, which remains pending before Congress.
Sereno cited several measures implemented by the high court for this purpose, including the release of summaries of the statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth of the justices since 2014 and fiscal and financial data like disbursements from Judiciary Development Fund and Annual Procurement Plans.
The chief justice also referred to the audio live streaming of the oral arguments of the SC and posting of relevant pleadings and legal documents on cases of public concerns in its website.
She also pointed to issuance of updates on relevant and current developments through the SC PIO Twitter page, release of bar exams results every year since 2013 and approval of new rules and procedures and guidelines to judges.
Sereno said the SC PIO has been conducting press briefing on Tuesdays after each session of the high court.
She said that apart from the reforms already implemented, the high court is considering more measures for purposes of transparency in its affairs.
“The Court is also deliberating on a draft Rule of Access to Information about the Supreme Court pursuant to its power to promulgate rules and its power to supervise the lower courts,” Sereno said.
President Duterte earlier called on both the legislative and judicial branches to join the executive branch “in strengthening our democracy institutions by following suit and instituting measures that would allow unfettered public access to relevant information about their affairs.”