MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday welcomed the progress of a proposed measure seeking to give expanded jurisdiction to first-level courts in the country.

In an online press briefing, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the measure would allow the transfer of some cases now under the jurisdiction of second-level courts or regional trial courts (RTCs).

“We want to unclog or unburden the second level courts of so many cases, especially drug cases,” he said, adding that the measure will now be submitted for plenary approval.

Last week, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 6589 which seeks to amend Batas Pambansa 129 or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.

The measure is expected to ease the caseload of RTCs through the transfer of some of its cases to first-level courts — metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts, and municipal circuit trial courts.

Meanwhile, Peralta said the court currently sees no need yet for supporting legislation to adopt video conferencing in courts considering the concerns about online security and to ensure the integrity of online hearings against attacks by hackers.

“If it pertains to procedure, hearings, and court procedures, the authority belongs to the Supreme Court. Video conferencing is procedural and is part of the authority of the SC,” Peralta said. (PNA)