MANILA – Senator Richard J. Gordon on Wednesday pushed for the passage of Senate Bill 1886, which he sponsored, to help unclog the dockets of the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) and to speed up the disposition of cases.
During the interpellation for SB 1886, Gordon said unclogging the court’s dockets can be attained by expanding the jurisdictional threshold of the first level courts or the Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs), citing higher number of pending cases at the second level courts or RTCs.
“The congestion of our courts’ dockets deprives the courts of time. Judges need time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions. 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,” said Gordon, sponsor of the bill.
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.
SBN 1886 will also address the delay in the disposition cases due to overloading of cases assigned per judge. As Gordon pointed out, there are so many cases to be heard but very few judges are deciding on the cases.
To help advance the country’s justice system, Gordon previously helped passage of now Judges-at-Large Act of 2018 or RA 11459 that addresses the increasing number of pending trials in courts and to solve the congestion of court dockets through the creation of 100 RTC judges-at-large positions and 50 MTC positions.
These Judges-at-Large shall have no permanent salas and may be assigned by the SC as acting or assisting judges to any RTC or First Level Court in the Philippines as public interest may require.
The Community Service Act or RA 11362 that allows the courts to impose community service in lieu of imprisonment for minor offenses, which will promote restorative justice and jail decongestion, was likewise passed in 2019.
“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,” Gordon said.
SBN 1886 is a consolidated measure of SBN 1359 filed by Gordon on Feb. 18, 2020 and SBN 1353 filed by Senator Manuel M. Lapid on Feb. 17, 2020. (PNA)