The Supreme Court of the Philippines has partnered with Microsoft to improve the country’s legal proceedings by hosting virtual hearing through Microsoft 365 videoconferencing tools. The initiative will help the country expedite trials amid the coronavirus pandemic while quarantine measures are in place.
On 27 April, the Honorable Chief Justice Peralta issued a directive to begin virtual court hearings. The move has already improved efficiency and productivity within the court system, having released 4,683 people deprived of liberty – an increase of 125 per cent compared with six weeks before.
“We thank Microsoft for extending Microsoft 365 to us, and commend them for supporting the Philippine Judiciary in our quest for digital transformation, with the aim of realising expedited, efficient, and secure trials that are more user-friendly for court users especially during this time of public health emergency,” said Peralta.
In addition to videoconferencing courtrooms, the high court has also allowed the e-filing of complaints and petitions for bail to reduce physical contact. The entire Philippine government will also use Microsoft 365 as its official communication channel.
“I am so proud to be a part of this historic moment in the Philippines,” said Andres Ortola, general manager of Microsoft Philippines. “This is the first time the Supreme Court has moved to a virtual courtroom to ensure they continue to provide justice and due process during Covid-19. This agility creates government resilience and ensures they remain accessible to citizens and communities during these challenging times.”