CITY OF MALOLOS, Philippines -- In an effort to promote the national language, three regional trial courts in Bulacan will use Filipino, instead of English, in their court proceedings.
Twelve stenographers from Branches 6, 80 and 81 of the RTC had undergone training on the taking of stenographic notes in Filipino following a directive from the Supreme Court.
Retired Court of Appeals Justice Jose de la Rama said the three branches would serve as models for other courts.
The stenographers underwent training for a month at the Bulacan State University College of Law. The training was in line with De la Rama's proposal to encourage lawyers, prosecutors and judges to use Filipino in court hearings and proceedings not only in Bulacan but in other areas as well.
De la Rama said he read the appeal written in Filipino of the late newspaper columnists Maximo Soliven and Luis Beltran after their conviction by a lower court in the libel case filed by former president Corazon Aquino.
In 1996, he wrote in Filipino the 53-page decision acquitting the two journalists.
De la Rama said the use of Filipino in court proceedings will expedite the handling of cases because there will no longer be a need for translators which, he noted, is time consuming.
Using Filipino, he said, will also allow litigants to fully understand what is happening in the court.
De la Rama, dean of the Marcelo H. del Pilar College of Law of the Bulacan State University, said there would be transparency in the court if the national language is used.
The program was supported by retired Judge Cesar Peralejo, member of the Judicial and Bar Council, and lawyer Rosa Maria Bautista, member of the linguist committee of the University of the Philippines College of Law.
"We are certain that many of our lawyers are best speakers of Filipino as they do in English language, or they are far even better communicators using our own language," De la Rama said.
A recipient of the Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano Memorial Judicial Excellence Award in the RTC category in 1994, De la Rama said it was the dream of Chief Justice Reynato Puno to implement the program in other Tagalog-speaking areas such as Laguna, Cavite, Quezon, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Rizal and Metro Manila.