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Nag, Rajat "Speech by Director General Rajat M. Nag" [2006] ADBLPRes 5 (19 October 2006)

Speech by Director General Rajat M. Nag

Rajat M. Nag
Director General, Southeast Asia Department
and Special Advisor to the President, Regional Economic Cooperation
and Integration in Asia and the Pacific
Asian Development Bank

19 October 2006

CHIEF JUSTICE PANGANIBAN, JUSTICE CARPIO, AMBASSADOR YAMAZAKI, HONORED JUSTICES AND JUDGES, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,, EXCELLENCIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I would like to begin by saying how privileged I feel in being able to participate in the Global Forum on Liberty and Prosperity. Thanks to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Global Forum has become a landmark event, a distinct and major contribution to promoting a global debate on issues of judicial reform.

In this context, it is for me a distinct honor to be here today to participate in the official launch of a new phase of ADB’s support program for the Philippine’s Judiciary. There could be no more appropriate setting for the launch, and no more distinguished audience to witness it.

CHIEF JUSTICE PANGANIBAN, I would like to take this opportunity to express my admiration for your leadership in developing and disseminating the judicial philosophy of liberty and prosperity which clarifies the important role of the judiciary in economic development. This philosophy, which is your personal contribution to a key debate, uplifts and strengthens the initiative launched by the Supreme Court in 2001 under the leadership of former Chief Justice Davide – the Action Program for Judicial Reform in the Philippines.

Much has been achieved under the Action Program, and the evidence for this is all round us here today in the Global Forum. But much still remains to be achieved, and hence the importance of a continuing effort led by the Supreme Court, in concert with its partners which includes the ADB, the Government of Japan, the World Bank and other bi-lateral agencies.

DISTINGUISHED JUSTICES, EXCELLENCIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN Support for judicial reform has been an important part of ADB’s country strategy and program for the Philippines. Our support began in June of 2000, shortly before the Supreme Court adopted the Action Program for Judicial Reform.

ADB support for the Action Program was based on a dual conception of the importance of the law and the judiciary and indeed, of the role and value of justice. First, we believe that justice as fairness has an intrinsic value to all societies which wish to be responsive to the aspirations of the individuals and groups that are its constituents. Second, justice has an instrumental value; that is to say, its practical application has value for the outcomes it achieves, whether in terms of liberty or of prosperity.

As articulated by Chief Justice Panganiban, a strongly independent, accountable and capable judiciary that is faithful to the rule of law is needed to safeguard liberty, especially the rights of the vulnerable from powerful economic and political interests, and from government itself. Likewise, to promote much needed investment, the private sector needs the predictability of doing business that can be provided only by an independent, accountable and capable judiciary that is faithful to the rule of law.

With these principles providing the overarching frame of reference, the ADB was pleased to provide technical assistance in 2001 to support the Supreme Court in three core areas: (i) developing frameworks and systems to strengthen the Judiciary’s independence and accountability, (ii) improving the judicial appointment system, and (iii) strengthening judicial training.

Since then, the ADB has worked closely with the Supreme Court’s Program Management Office in the implementation of the Action Program and the technical assistance. This has been an excellent relationship, and it provides a strong foundation for our forward partnership.

Today we launch a new technical assistance, generously funded by the people and Government of Japan. The launching of the TA takes place at a time when the Supreme Court is initiating key measures to strengthen its accountability and efficiency through decentralized processes and other measures. This technical assistance will support this process by helping to operationalize reforms adopted by the Supreme Court to decentralize the court’s fiscal and administrative operations. Decentralization of these functions will promote enhanced judicial independence, accountability and efficiency that in turn will enable the court to more effectively safeguard liberty and nurture prosperity, the theme of this important forum.

CHIEF JUSTICE PANGANIBAN, Your contribution to the development of an independent and accountable judiciary, worthy of public trust and confidence has been immense. We have been proud to work with you and the Supreme Court of the Philippines. We look forward to the successful implementation of this technical assistance and a continued and close relationship with the Philippine’s Judiciary.

Thank You.

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