CIRCULAR NO. 3-99
ALL TRIAL COURT JUDGES AND THEIR PERSONNEL AND THE INTEGRATED
BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES
STRICT OBSERVANCE OF SESSION HOURS OF TRIAL COURTS AND EFFECTIVE
OF CASES TO ENSURE THEIR SPEEDY DISPOSITION.
disposition of cases, the following guidelines must be faithfully
of all Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial
shall be from 8:30 A.M. to noon and from 2:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M., from
to Friday. The hours in the morning shall be devoted to the conduct of
trial, while the hours in the afternoon shall be utilized for  the
of pre-trial conferences;  writing of decisions, resolutions, or
or  the continuation of trial on the merits whenever rendered
as may be required by the Rules of Court, statutes, or circulars in
courts in places where there are few practicing lawyers, the schedule
be modified upon request of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines such that one-half of the branches may hold
their trial in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. Except
those requiring immediate action, all motions should be scheduled for
on Friday afternoons, or if Friday is a non-working day, in the
of the next business day. The unauthorized practice of some judges of
motions or setting them for hearing on any other day or time must be
punctual at all times.
Court, under the direct supervision of the Judge, must comply with Rule
20 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure regarding the calendar of cases
be a strict adherence to the policy on avoiding postponements and
4 of Rule 30, 1997
Rules on Civil Procedure on adjournments and postponements and on
requisites of a motion to postpone trial for absence of evidence or for
illness of a party or counsel, should be faithfully observed.
of the Court, are enjoined to cooperate with judges to ensure swift
continuous trial system in civil cases contemplated in Administrative
Circular No. 4 dated 22 September 1988, and the guidelines provided
for in Circular
No. 1-89 dated 19 January 1989, must be effectively implemented.
expediency, these guidelines in civil cases are hereunder restated with
modifications, taking into account the relevant provisions of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. Within five
days after the last pleading joining the issues has been filed and
the plaintiff must move ex parte that the case be set for
submit, at least three  days before the conference, pre-trial briefs
containing the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
of their willingness to enter into an amicable settlement indicating
desired terms thereof, or to submit the case to any of the alternative
modes of dispute resolution;
of admitted facts and proposed stipulation of facts;
be tried or resolved;
names of the witnesses to be presented, an abstract of their
and the approximate number of hours that will be required by the
for the presentation of their respective evidence;
documents intended to be presented with a statement of the purpose of
of their having availed or their intention to avail themselves of any
procedure, or of the need of referral of any issues to commissioners;
trial dates of counsel for complete presentation of evidence which must
be within a period of three months from the first day of trial.cralaw
3. Before the
conference, the judge must study the pleadings of every case and
the issues thereof and the respective positions of the parties thereon
to enable him to intelligently steer the parties toward a possible
settlement of the case or, at the very least, to help reduce and limit
the issues. The judge should avoid the undesirable practice of
the pre-trial as soon as the parties have indicated that they cannot
the controversy. He must be mindful that there are other
aspects of the pre-trial that ought to be taken up to expedite the
of the case.
4. At the
conference, the following shall be done:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
all tact, patience and impartiality, shall endeavor to persuade the
to arrive at a settlement of the dispute; if no amicable settlement is
reached, then he must effectively direct the parties toward the
of the other objectives or goals of pre-trial set forth in Section 2,
Rules of Civil Procedure.
by the disclosures at the pre-trial, the judge may either forthwith
the action, or determine the propriety of rendering a judgment on the
or a summary judgment.
define the factual issues arising from the pleadings and endeavor to
the material issues.
[d] If only
issues are presented, the judge shall require the parties to submit
respective memoranda and thereafter render judgment.
trial is necessary,
the judge shall fix the trial dates required to complete presentation
evidence by both parties within ninety  days from the date of
5. After the
conference, the judge should not fail to prepare and issue the
pre-trial order, which shall embody the matter mentioned in Sec. 7,
18 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure.
plaintiff to appear at the pre-trial shall be a cause for dismissal of
the action. A similar failure of the defendant shall be a cause to
the plaintiff to present his evidence ex-parte and the Court to
render judgment on the basis thereof.
pre-trial briefs shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the
encourage the effective use of pre-trial discovery procedures [Administrative
Circular No. 1 dated 28 January 1988, 2.1].
 Unless the
of the Court requires otherwise, not more than four (4) cases shall be
scheduled for trial daily.
Judge shall make arrangements with the prosecutor and the Public
Office [PAO] so that a relief prosecutor and a PAO attorney are always
available in case the regular prosecutor or [PAO] attorneys are absent.
must likewise be taken for any unexpected absence of the stenographer
other support staff assisting in the trial.
and service of subpoena shall be done in accordance with Administrative
Circular No. 4 dated 22 September 1988.
conduct trial with utmost dispatch, with judicious exercise of the
power to control trial proceedings to avoid delay.
take notes of the material and relevant testimonies of witnesses to
be terminated within ninety  days from initial hearing. Appropriate
disciplinary sanctions may be imposed on the judge and the lawyers for
failure to comply with this requirement due to causes attributable to
bound to complete the presentation of his evidence within the trial
assigned to him. After the lapse of said dates, the party is deemed to
have completed the presentation of evidence. However, upon verified
based on compelling reasons, the judge may allow a party additional
dates in the afternoon; Provided, That said extension will not
beyond the three-month limit computed from the first trial date except
when authorized in writing by the Court Administrator, Supreme Court.cralaw
VI. All trial
must strictly comply with Circular
No. 38-98 entitled, "Implementing the Provisions of Republic Act
8493" ["An Act to Ensure a Speedy Trial of All Cases Before the
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court
Cities, , Municipal Trial Court, , Municipal Circuit Trial Court,
Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes"] issued by the Honorable Chief
Justice Andres R. Narvasa on 11 August 1998 and which took effect on 15
reminder of what cases must be decided or resolved, the judge must keep
a calendar of cases submitted for decision, noting therein the exact
month and year when the 90-day period is to expire. As soon as a case
submitted for decision, it must be noted in the calendar of the judge;
moreover, the records shall be duly collected with the exhibits and the
transcripts of stenographic notes as well as the trial notes of the
and placed in the judge's chamber.
cases, the judge will do well to announce in open court at the
of the trial the date of the promulgation of the decision, which should
be set within 90 days from the submission of the case for decision.
scrupulously observe the period prescribed in Section 15, Article VIII
of the Constitution.cralaw
take effect on 1 February 1999. The Office of the Court
shall ensure faithful compliance therewith.
G. DAVIDE, JR.