Authorizing the Piloting of Assisting Courts to Help Nearby Overburdened Courts Deal with Their Case Loads ( <--!12102014-->A.M. No. 14-11-393-RTC )

December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014


A.M. No. 14-11-393-RTC


WHEREAS, the disproportionate allocation of courts in various parts of the country has resulted in some trial courts receiving heavy case loads while their adjacent court stations get light case loads;

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Makati City, consisting of seven (7) branches, and of Quezon City, thirteen (13) branches, have an average case load of 1,192 cases per branch yet nearby Manila City with thirty (30) branches has an average case load of only 205 cases per branch;

WHEREAS, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City, consisting of three (3) branches, and of Lapu-Lapu City, with three (3) branches, have an average case load of 1,919 cases per branch, while nearby Cebu City with twenty-two (22) branches has an average case load of only 571 cases per branch;

WHEREAS, the big disparity in the case loads of the courts in adjacent jurisdictions has led to the vast inequality in the periods to resolve cases;

WHEREAS, the assignment of assisting judges in heavily congested courts has not substantially eased the enormous delays in the hearing and adjudication of their cases because the staff in each of those courts have simply been unable to cope with two or more judges, the regular and the assisting judges, in hearing and deciding the huge number of cases assigned to them; SCaEcD

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, in the past, has authorized the holding of trial and resolution of cases for a particular area in a different location or jurisdiction for compelling reasons, e.g., the hearing and resolution of cases of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, in Cotabato City as provided in A.M. No. 04-3-170-RTC, and cases of Dasmariñas, Cavite, in Imus, Cavite, as provided in A.M. No. 92-9-855-RTC;

WHEREAS, until Congress is able to enact laws creating more courts and these laws are funded, the problem of delays can be substantially eased by designating assisting courts from one station that have light case loads to help courts in adjacent stations that have heavy case loads.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the above and pursuant to its powers under Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court hereby directs and authorizes the Court Administrator, subject to the prior approval of the Chief Justice, to conduct a pilot test by designating Assisting Courts from the MeTCs of Manila City to help Assisted Courts in the MeTCs of Makati City and Quezon City, and from the RTCs of Cebu City to help Assisted Courts in the RTCs of Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City, subject to the following conditions:

1. This authority to constitute Assisting Courts to help Assisted Courts may cover either First or Second Level Courts or courts of both levels belonging to closely-located stations, in terms of connecting transportations;

2. The piloting shall cover only newly-filed civil cases and Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 criminal cases from the Assisted Courts, which cases shall be raffled and assigned to the designated Assisting Courts to amply relieve the Assisted Courts of their heavy case loads;

3. The constitution of Assisting Courts to help Assisted Courts shall not greatly inconvenience the litigants and counsels who may have to attend the hearings of their cases in another city or municipality;

4. The Court Administrator shall, in carrying out these directives: CcHDaA

(a) Establish the mechanics for the designation of the Assisting Courts and the raffle of the covered cases to ensure as far as practicable their fair and balanced distribution and the attainment of the goal of the piloting program;

(b) Provide for the forwarding of the records of new cases to the Assisting Courts to which they have been assigned;

(c) Devise the manner by which the identity of the Assisting Courts is made to appear on the captions of the new cases and the means by which the parties and their counsels are informed of the need for them to appear and pursue their cases before such Assisting Courts;

(d) Coordinate the conduct of the piloting program with other government agencies whose operations may be affected by the same; and

(e) Perform such other tasks as are essential to the accomplishment of the purpose for which this piloting project has been authorized.

5. In urgent cases that require immediate action, the Executive Judge of the Assisted court that initially received the complaint or the criminal information shall have the authority to grant urgent temporary reliefs as provided under the Rules of Court if such are needed before forwarding the case to the Assisting Court to which it has been raffled and assigned.

6. Any appeal from the First Level Assisting Courts covered by this program shall be made to the Second Level Courts of the Assisted Court Stations.

7. In the event new courts are subsequently added to the overburdened stations, or if the circumstances warrant, the Court Administrator may modify or discontinue, with the prior approval of the Chief Justice, the designation of the Assisting Courts. But cases already assigned to the Assisting Courts shall remain with the Assisting Courts until fully heard, compromised or decided, executed, and terminated. All matters pertaining to probation relating to Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 cases shall, however, be referred by the Assisting Courts to the Probation Office of the Assisted Courts.

8. Insofar as the rules governing venue are concerned, the hearing, trial and resolution of cases by the Assisting Courts shall be deemed done at the venue of the Assisted Courts.

9. The Court Administrator shall submit a report and recommendation on the piloting one year after its implementation.

This Administrative Matter shall take effect on 16 January 2015, upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.

The Court also notes the Memorandum dated 18 November 2014 of Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez.

Manila, December 10, 2014.


(SGD.) ANTONIO T. CARPIOAssociate Justice

(SGD.) PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.Associate Justice


(On leave)ARTURO D. BRIONAssociate Justice

(SGD.) DIOSDADO M. PERALTAAssociate Justice

(On Official leave)LUCAS P. BERSAMINAssociate Justice


(SGD.) MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.Associate Justice

(On official leave)JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZAssociate Justice


(SGD.) BIENVENIDO L. REYESAssociate Justice


(SGD.) MARVIC M.V.F. LEONENAssociate Justice

(On Official leave)FRANCIS H. JARDELEZAAssociate Justice

Published in The Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 12, 2015.