EX-CJ Panganiban shocked SC backlog has more than doubled to nearly 1,000 cases per Justice

Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban was shocked to learn how much the Supreme Court’s backlog of cases has ballooned since he retired in 2006.

The SC en banc revealed that it has a total of 14,491 pending cases (of which 6,526 cases were new) in its docket as of December 2016. The SC itself described the numbers as “clearly staggering.”

Panganiban said this was “far worse” than he expected.

In his Inquirer column, Panganiban said: “During my term as CJ, the Court had about 6,000 cases and we were already struggling to cope. In 10 years since then (2006-2016), the number has more than doubled!”

“The 14,491 pending cases translate to an average of 966 (and counting) for each of the 15 justices. Worse, more cases accumulate (6,526) than those disposed of (105 + 923 = 1028). That’s the really bad news,” he added.

During his term as CJ from 2005 to 2006, Panganiban said he adopted “Operation Zero Backlog” which was “a kind of judicial bayanihan’ whereby old cases were surrendered to a pool from which the justices who had light caseloads voluntarily took them out and decided them.” He said this was dropped after he retired.

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