Senate starts plenary debates on bill seeking to decongest RTC dockets
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has started plenary debates on a bill that seeks to unclog the dockets of the second level courts or regional trial courts (RTC) and to speed up the disposition of cases.
During the interpellation for Senate Bill No. 1886, Senator Richard Gordon, sponsor of the bill, said RTC dockets can be unclogged by expanding the jurisdictional threshold of first level courts or the municipal trial courts as there are a higher number of pending cases at the second level courts.
“The congestion of our courts’ dockets deprives the courts of the time. Judges need time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions,” Gordon, chair of the Senate justice and human rights committee, said during Wednesday’s session.
“The quality of justice is therefore adversely affected by the congestion of our courts’ dockets. There are not enough courts or judges to meet the demands of our countrymen,” he added.
Citing data from the Office of the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court, the senator noted that there are 21,269 pending civil cases at the country’s first-level courts, and 108,484 pending civil cases at the second level courts as of Dec. 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,” he said.
“To help de-clog 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,” he added.
The measure also seeks to address the delay in the disposition cases due to the overloading of cases assigned to each judge.
Gordon pointed out that there are so many cases to be heard but only very few judges to decide on the cases.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. Article 3 of Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution provides that all persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases,” he said.
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