ChanRobles Virtual Law Library


Chan Robles Virtual Law Library

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Pursuant to Sec. 12, Art. XVIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating the adoption of a systematic plan to expedite the decision or resolution of cases or matters pending in the Supreme Court and the lower courts prior to the effectivity of the Constitution on February 2, 1987, the following directives must be complied with strictly by all concerned.   

1. Effective Docket Control:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary  

1.1. All presiding judges of trial courts must, upon assumption of office, and every semester thereafter, on June 30th and December 31st of every year, conduct a physical inventory of their dockets for the purpose of determining the actual number of cases pending in their salas.  

1.2. An inventory shall be prepared to indicate the cases pending trial, the cases submitted for decision and the cases that have been archived. Copy of such inventory shall be submitted to the Supreme Court through the Court Administrator within thirty [30] days from receipt of this Circular and the Inventory Form.  

1.3. The Presiding Judge and the Clerk of Court shall initial the Records or Rollos of each case to indicate the date of actual inventory. The inventory shall include a list of cases submitted for decision indicating the title and case number and the date of filing of said case. An updated inventory be submitted to the Supreme Court every six [6] months thereafter as required in Paragraph 1.1 hereof.  

1.4. Preference in Disposition. - All cases or matters submitted for decision or resolution before the effectivity of the Constitution shall be given preference by the Presiding Judge in his disposition of his docket.cralaw

2. Maximum Use of Judge's Time and Effective Court Management:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   2.1. All Presiding Judges are directed to comply strictly with the guidelines established in Circular No. 13, July 1, 1987, on punctuality and observance of office hours, effective use of pre-trial and discovery procedures, effective management of trials, the availment of annual conferences.  

2.2. A strict policy on postponement should be observed to avoid unnecessary delays in court proceedings. Faithful adherence to Secs. 3, 4 and 5 of Rule 22, Rules of Court should be observed.  

2.3. The preparation of the court calendar should not be left entirely in the hands of the Clerk of Court and must be closely supervised by the Presiding Judge. A rational calendar plan should be followed so that each case in the calendar is assured of a hearing on the scheduled day of trial.  

2.4. The Presiding Judge must have a calendar of cases submitted for decision, noting the exact day, month and year when the 90-day period is to expire. As soon as a case is submitted for decision, this must be noted in the calendar of the Judge, the records duly collated with the Exhibits and trial notes of the judge and placed in the Judge's chambers.cralaw

3. Prompt Action on Dilatory Petitions to Delay Enforcement of Executory Judgments:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   3.1. It has become a common practice for litigants to file dilatory petitions for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction in order to delay or thwart enforcement of final and executory judgments of both the Regional Trial Court or of other inferior trial Courts.  

3.2. Where such petitions are filed, the Court concerned should exercise the greatest restraint to avoid delay in the enforcement of final and executory judgments. Attention is called to Sec. 6, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court which provides that such petition may be given due course only if "sufficient in form and substance." Hence, summons should not immediately be issued until the Court finds the petition sufficient in form and substance. Only then should the order issue requiring defendant or defendants to answer. Restraining orders or preliminary injunction should not be issued without prior notice and hearing and showing of a clear right thereto.cralaw

4. Redistribution of Pending Cases in Multi-Sala Station:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   4.1. In multi-sala stations where former incumbents have either retired or were promoted leaving undecided pending cases such volume that the present incumbent finds extreme difficulty in attending thereto, the Executive Judge should promptly make a report and recommendation on the equitable redistribution of these cases to the other salas.  

4.2. As much as practicable, the incumbent judges should arrive at an agreement on the matter; otherwise, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Court Administrator for prompt action.cralaw

5. Decision-Writing   5.1. All Presiding Judges must observe scrupulously the periods prescribed in Art. VIII, Sec. 15 of the Constitution.  

5.2. All Judges are reminded that the Supreme Court has applied the "Res Ipsa Loquitur" rule in the removal of judges even without any formal investigation whenever a decision, on its face, indicates gross incompetence or gross ignorance of the law or gross misconduct. [See People vs. Valenzuela, 135 SCRA 712; Cathay Pacific Airways vs. Romillo, Jr., 142 SCRA 262; In re Laureta, 149 SCRA 570].  

5.3. Judges should make complete findings of facts in their decision and scrutinize closely the legal aspects of the case in the light of the evidence presented. They should avoid the tendency to "generalize and to form conclusion without detailing the facts from which such conclusions are deduced." [See People vs. Alvero, G.R. No. 69564, Jan. 29, 1988; Pengson vs. IAC, 130 SCRA 289].cralaw

6. Motions and Other Interlocutory Matters:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   6.1. All Presiding Judges must endeavor to act promptly on all motions and interlocutory matters pending before their courts.  

6.2. Unless authorized by the Rule, and only in situations of extreme urgency, no motions or other applications for relief should be acted upon ex parte. Delays in court proceedings have often times been due to such ex parte applications, resulting in the aggrieved party having to seek relief from higher Courts.  

6.3. All Courts from the Court of Appeals down are reminded of the injunction in Habaluyas vs. Judge Japzon, and subsequent cases, G.R. No. 70895, May 30, 1986, 142 SCRA 209 [reiterated in Circular No. 10, August 28, 1986] that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration of judgment or final order shall be allowed. The granting of such prohibited motion for extension shall not preserve the judgment or order from becoming final and executory for lapse of the period to appeal. Such motions for extension may be filed only in the Supreme Court which reserves the right in its discretion to grant or deny the same.cralaw

7. Inhibitions and Disqualifications:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   7.1. All judges are reminded that as already pointed out in Circular No. 7, dated November 10, 1980, inhibitions and disqualifications are judicial actions which do not require prior administrative approval.  

7.2. Administrative intervention is necessary only when the inhibitions is by a judge of a single sala court, and the case has to be transferred to another judge of another station.  

7.3. Administrative intervention is also warranted in case of conflict of opinions among the judges as to the proprietary of the inhibition.cralaw

8. Raffle of Cases:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   8.1. Raffle of cases should be done in open session in the presence of lawyers and spectators, immediately after the Court opens its sessions:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary  

8.2. The minutes of the raffle should be distributed within 24 hours after completion thereof to the Judges of the other salas, and a copy sent to the Office of the Court Administrator.  

8.3. Special raffles should not be permitted except on verified application of the interested party who seeks issuance of a provisional remedy and only upon a finding by the Executive Judge that unless the special raffle is conducted, irreparable damage shall be suffered by the applicant. The special raffle shall be conducted by at least two Judges in a multiple-sala station.  

8.4. There must be strict compliance with Administrative Order No. 6 dated June 30, 1975 and Circular No. 7 dated September 23, 1974 requiring that no case may be assigned in multi-sala Courts without raffle; a raffle committee composed of the Executive Judge and two other Judges shall be constituted where practicable, raffle proceedings should be stenographically recorded, and the results signed by the Judges or their representatives and the Clerk of Court, and the branch assignment shall be recorded in words and figures on the rollo. 

9. Bar Relations:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   9.1. All Executive Judges shall conduct dialogues and conferences at least once every semester with the officers of the Integrated Bar Chapter in their respective jurisdictional areas.  

9.2. At this conference, the Executive Judge shall discuss with the IBP Officers problems confronting the lawyers, and examine approaches and solutions to enable both the Court and the bar to assist each other in the speedy resolution of pending cases.cralaw

10. Maintaining Public Confidence in the Courts:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   10.1. All judicial efforts should be addressed towards maintaining public confidence in the Courts.  

10.2. As we enjoined in Circular No. 13, dated July 1, 1987, "all trial judges should endeavor to conduct themselves strictly in accordance with the mandate of existing laws and the Code of Judicial Ethics that they be exemplars in their communities and the living personification of justice and the Rule of Law."  

10.3. The reduction of case loads would be an efficacious design to strengthen public confidence in the Courts. All efforts should be exerted so that case disposals should exceed case inputs. Whenever obstacles present themselves which delay case disposition, the Presiding Judge should immediately call the attention of the Supreme Court through the Court Administrator when the situation requires remedies beyond the control or capability of the Judges.cralaw

11. Deadlines for Decisions for all Cases filed after February 2, 1987.   11.1. All Courts are reminded of the mandatory provisions of Article VIII, Section 15 of the Constitution setting deadlines for determination and adjudication of cases filed thereunder and for issuance of a certification by the Presiding Judge stating the reason why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within the deadline period. The provisions are here in below reproduced for ready reference:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary  
  "SEC. 15 (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate Courts, and three months for all other lower Courts.     "(2) A case or matter should be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself.     "(3) Upon the expiration of the corresponding period, a certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice or the Presiding Judge shall forthwith be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case or matter, and served upon the parties. The certification shall state why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within said period.     "(4) Despite the expiration of the applicable mandatory period, the Court, without prejudice to such responsibility as may have been incurred in consequence thereof, shall decide or resolve the case or matter submitted thereto for determination, without further delay."
12. Publication:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary   12.1. Let the Clerk of Court distribute this Circular among all Courts and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and cause the publication thereof in the Official Gazette as well as distribute copies thereof to the media for their dissemination.  January 28, 1988.  
Chief Justice
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