U.S. Ambassador announces Php15-million support for PHL Judicial Reform Program

U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson and Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo formally launched a new U.S. government assistance project valued at nearly Php 15 million ($250,000) to support the Philippines’ ongoing judicial reform efforts.

The U.S. State Department’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) awarded the grant to the U.S. National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to facilitate the implementation of the Manila Justice Sector Reform Program in support of the Supreme Court’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations.

This 18-month long program seeks to set the foundation for future judicial reforms by evaluating the existing capacity of the Philippine judiciary, supporting strategic planning, and developing key performance baselines and tools for measuring success.

The NCSC is an American non-profit organization that provides technical assistance, training, and technology to enhance justice systems and services around the world.

Ambassador Carlson officially announced the grant during her courtesy call on Chief Justice Gesmundo at the Supreme Court on October 21.

Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, and Associate Justice Antonio T. Kho, Jr. were also present.

“The rule of law is essential in ensuring equal access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable,” Ambassador Carlson said to Chief Justice Gesmundo and to the Associate Justices.

“We must preserve democratic institutions and bring together like-minded countries because the rule of law is vital to democracy.  The United States values its longstanding partnership with the Philippines and remains committed to supporting the Supreme Court as it pursues judicial reforms.”

Chief Justice Gesmundo thanked the U.S. government and other partner agencies for their contributions “that have helped the Supreme Court become more efficient and effective in the administration of justice.”

Globally, INL assists partner governments assess, build, reform, and sustain competent and legitimate criminal justice systems, and develop and implement the architecture necessary for cross-border law enforcement cooperation.