Fri. May 14th, 2021

The Senate on Monday approved on final reading a measure that would expand the jurisdiction of first and second level courts, which would amend Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, or the Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.

Special session: Senators attend Monday’s special session, March 23, 2020, called by President Duterte to deliberate and pass a measure addressing the current national emergency related to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). (Louie Sauro Millang/Senate PRIB)

With 22 votes favoring the measure, two negative votes, with no abstention, Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1886, or An Act Further Expanding the Jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTCs)/ Municipal Trial Courts In Cities, Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs), And Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTCs) is now a couple of steps away before becoming a law.

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and sponsor of the measure, heaved a sigh of relief as SBN 1866 could hopefully unclog the court dockets of the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) and to speed up the disposition of cases.

Gordon said unclogging the court’s dockets can be attained by expanding the jurisdictional threshold amount of the first level courts or MTCs, citing higher number of pending cases at the second level courts or RTCs.

One of the amendments included in the proposed measure is the increase in the jurisdictional amount under the RTCs in all civil actions involving the title to, or possession of, real property from P20,000 (PHP50,000 in Metro Manila) to P400,000.

The RTCs shall also have jurisdictional supervision “in all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of the estate exceeds P2 million” from P100,000 to P200,000, the measure stated.

According to the Office of the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court (SC), there are 21,269 pending civil cases at the first level courts, while there are 108,484 pending civil cases at the second level courts as of December 2018.

“The data shows that our first level courts have a lower number of pending cases at the end of the year compared to that of our second level courts. To help unclog the dockets of our second level courts and to equalize the burden between the first level courts and the second level courts, we are proposing to raise the jurisdictional threshold of our second level and first level courts,” Gordon explained during the period of interpellation of the bill. SOVEREIGNPH

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