The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) encourages lawyers and key staff of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to avail of digital signatures to ease the electronic signing of pleadings; ensure the integrity of legal documents; and protect lawyers during the conduct of general law practice online.
In a letter to Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa, who serves as Chairman of the Board and National President of the IBP, the DICT offered the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) services that allow users to apply and install digital certificates online.
The letter aims to respond to the acute need to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of electronic transactions and documents, especially for those in the legal sector who are currently under Work-From-Home arrangements.
“DICT commits to help the judicial system go digital in support of President Duterte’s directives to expedite public services amid the public health emergency,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said. “To help our lawyers administer their public duties, we highly encourage the IBP to use digital certificates for faster and more secure online legal services.”
The DICT’s earlier efforts to assist the judicial system include offering digital certificates to prosecutors and officers of the Department of Justice – National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS) in support of the conduct of electronic and online inquest proceedings (E-Inquest) in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The Department also remains in close coordination with the IBP, which is pushing for Online Hearings as the preferred mode over traditional physical hearings among courts nationwide.
To this end, the DICT and IBP are discussing viable means to ensure fast and reliable internet connection in all courts across the country to improve the feasibility of online hearings and possible use of PNPKI digital certificates for all documents and pleadings in the legal practice.
A recent user feedback survey conducted by the Department tallied a total of 1,251 people from both public and private sectors who are currently using PNPKI since the imposition of Community Quarantine. (DICT)