Whereas, case congestion and delays plague most courts in cities, given the huge volume of cases filed each year and the slow and cumbersome adversarial system that the judiciary has in place;


Whereas, about 40% of criminal cases are dismissed annually owing to the fact that complainants simply give up coming to court after repeated postponements;


Whereas, few foreign businessmen make long-term investments in the Philippines because its courts are unable to provide ample and speedy protection to their investments, keeping its people poor;


Whereas, in order to reduce the time needed for completing the testimonies of witnesses in cases under litigation, on February 21, 2012 the Supreme Court approved for piloting by trial courts in Quezon City the compulsory use of judicial affidavits in place of the direct testimonies of witnesses;


Whereas, it is reported that such piloting has quickly resulted in reducing by about two-thirds the time used for presenting the testimonies of witnesses, thus speeding up the hearing and adjudication of cases;


Whereas, the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, headed by Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and the Sub-Committee on the Revision of the Rules on Civil Procedure, headed by Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad, have recommended for adoption a Judicial Affidavit Rule that will replicate nationwide the success of the Quezon City experience in the use of judicial affidavits;
and


Whereas, the Supreme Court En Bane finds merit in the recommendation;


NOW, THEREFORE, the Supreme Court En Bane hereby issues and promulgates the following:

Section 1. Scope. - (a) This Rule shall apply to all actions, proceedings, and incidents requiring the reception of evidence before:


(1) The Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the Municipal Trial Courts, the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the Shari' a Circuit Courts but shall not apply to small claims cases under A.M. 08-8-7-SC;


(2) The Regional Trial Courts and the Shari' a District Courts;


(3) The Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Court of Appeals, and the Shari' a Appellate Courts;


(4) The investigating officers and bodies authorized by the Supreme Court to receive evidence, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP); and


(5) The special courts and quasi-judicial bodies, whose rules of procedure are subject to disapproval of the Supreme Court, insofar as their existing rules of procedure contravene the provisions of this Rule.1


(b) For the purpose of brevity, the above courts, quasi-judicial bodies, or investigating officers shalJ be uniformly referred to here as the "court."


Sec. 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of direct testimonies. -

(a) The parties shall file with the court and serve on the adverse party, personally or by licensed courier service, not later than five days before pre-trial or preliminary conference or the scheduled hearing with respect to motions and incidents, the following:


(1) The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take the place of such witnesses' direct testimonies; and
(2) The parties' documentary or object evidence, if any, which shall be attached to the judicial affidavits and marked as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on in the case of the complainant or the plaintiff, and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on in the case of the respondent or the defendant.


(b) Should a party or a witness desire to keep the original document or object evidence in his possession, he Inay, after the same has been identified, marked as exhibit, and authenticated, warrant in his judicial affidavit that the copy or reproduction attached to such affidavit is a faithful copy or reproduction of that original. In addition, the party or witness shall bring the original document or object evidence for comparison during the preliminary conference with the attached copy, reproduction, or pictures, failing which the latter shall not be admitted.


This is without prejudice to the introduction of secondary evidence in place of the original when allowed by existing rules.


Sec. 3. Contents of judicial Affidavit. - A judicial affidavit shall be prepared in the language known to the witness and, if not in English or Filipino, accompanied by a translation in English or Filipino, and shall contain the following:


(a) The name, age, residence or business address, and occupation of the witness;


(b) The name and address of the lawyer who conducts or supervises the examination of the witness and the place where the examination is being held;


(c) A statement that the witness is answering the questions asked of him, fully conscious that he does so under oath, and that he may face criminal liability for false testimony or perjury;


(d) Questions asked of the witness and his corresponding answers, consecutively numbered, that:

  1. Show the circumstances under which the witness acquired the facts upon which he testifies;
  2. Elicit from him those facts which are relevant to the issues that the case presents; and
  3. Identify the attached documentary and object evidence and establish their authenticity in accordance with the Rules of Court;



(e) The signature of the witness over his printed name; and


(f) A jurat with the signature of the notary public who administers the oath or an officer who is authorized by law to administer the same.


Sec. 4. Sworn attestation of the lawyer.

(a) The judicial affidavit shall contain a sworn attestation at the end, executed by the lawyer who conducted or supervised the examination of the witness, to the effect that:


  1. He faithfully recorded or caused to be recorded the questions he asked and the corresponding answers that the witness gave; and
  2. Neither he nor any other person then present or assisting him coached the witness regarding the latter's answers.


(b) A false attestation shall subject the lawyer mentioned to disciplinary action, including disbarment.

Sec. 5. Subpoena. - If the government employee or official, or the requested witness, who is neither the witness of the adverse party nor a hostile witness, unjustifiably declines to execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to make the relevant books, documents, or other things under his control available for copying, authentication, and eventual production in court, the requesting party may avail himself of the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum or duces tecum under Rule 21 of the Rules of Court. The rules governing the issuance of a subpoena to the witness in this case shall be the same as when taking his deposition except that the taking of a judicial affidavit shal1 be understood to be ex parte.


Sec. 6. Offer of and objections to testimony in judicial affidavit.- The party presenting the judicial affidavit of his witness in place of direct testimony shall state the purpose of such testimony at the start of the presentation of the witness. The adverse party may move to disqualify the witness or to strike out his affidavit or any of the answers found in it on ground of inadmissibility. The court shall promptly rule on the motion and, if granted, shall cause the marking of any excluded answer by placing it in brackets under the initials of an authorized court personnel, without prejudice to a tender of excluded evidence under Section 40 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.


Sec. 7. Examination of the witness on his judicial affidavit. - The adverse party shall have the right to cross-examine the witness on his judicial affidavit and on the exhibits attached to the same. The party who presents the witness may also examine him as on re-direct. In every case, the court shall take active part in examining the witness to determine his credibility as well as the truth of his testimony and to elicit the answers that it needs for resolving the issues.


Sec. 8. Oral offer of and objections to exhibits. - (a) Upon the termination of the testimony of his last witness, a party shall immediately make an oral offer of evidence of his documentary or object exhibits, piece by piece, in their chronological order, stating the purpose or purposes for which he offers the particular exhibit. (b) After each piece of exhibit is offered, the adverse party shall state the legal ground for his objection, if any, to its admission, and the court shall immediately make its ruling respecting that exhibit. (c) Since the documentary or object exhibits form part of the judicial affidavits that describe and authenticate them, it is sufficient that such exhibits are simply cited by their markings during the offers, the objections, and the rulings, dispensing with the description of each exhibit.

Sec. 9. Application of rule to criminal actions. -

(a) This rule shall apply to all criminal actions:


  1. Where the maximum of the imposable penalty does not exceed six years;
  2. Where the accused agrees to the use of judicial affidavits, irrespective of the penalty involved; or
  3. With respect to the civil aspect of the actions, whatever the penalties involved are.



(b) The prosecution shall submit the judicial affidavits of its witnesses not later than five days before the pre-trial, serving copies of the samee upon the accused. The complainant or public prosecutor shall attach to the affidavits such documentary or object evidence as he may have, marking them as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on. No further judicial affidavit, documentary, or object evidence shall be admitted at the trial.


(c) If the accused desires to be heard on his defense after receipt of the judicial affidavits of the prosecution, he shall have the option to submit his judicial affidavit as well as those of his witnesses to the court within ten days from receipt of such affidavits and serve a copy of each on the public and private prosecutor, including his documentary and object evidence previously marked as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on. These affidavits shall serve as direct testimonies of the accused and his witnesses when they appear before the court to testify.


Sec. 10. Effect of non-compliance zuith the judicial Affidavit Rule. -

(a) A party who fails to submit the required judicial affidavits and exhibits on time shall be deemed to have waived their submission. The court may, however, allow only once the late submission of the same provided, the delay is for a valid reason, would not unduly prejudice the opposing party, and the defaulting party pays a fine of not less than Php l,000.0 nor more than Php 5,000.00, at the discretion of the court.


(b) The court shall not consider the affidavit of any witness who fails to appear at the scheduled hearing of the case as required. Counsel who fails to appear without valid cause despite notice shall be deemed to have waived his client's right to confront by cross-examination the witnesses there present.


(c) The court shall not admit as evidence judicial affidavits that do not conform to the content requirements of Section 3 and the attestation requirement of Section 4 above. The court may, however, allow only once the subsequent submission of the compliant replacement affidavits before the hearing or trial provided the delay is for a valid reason and Judicial Affidavit Rule would not unduly prejudice the opposing party and provided further, that public or private counsel responsible for their preparation and submission pays a fine of not less than Php1,000.00 nor more than Php5,000.00, at the discretion of the court.


Sec. 11. Repeal or modification of inconsistent rules. - The provisions of the Rules of Court and the rules of procedure governing investigating officers and bodies authorized by the Supreme Court to receive evidence are repealed or modified insofar as these are inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule. The rules of procedure governing quasi-judicial bodies inconsistent herewith are hereby disapproved.


Sec. 12. Effectivity.- This rule shall take effect on January 1, 2013 following its publication in two newspapers of general circulation not later than September 15, 2012. It shall also apply to existing cases.


Manila, September 4, 2012.

Revised Rules on Summary Procedure

RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN BANC DATED OCTOBER 15, 1991 PROVIDING FOR THE REVISED RULE ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE FOR METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS.
     

         Pursuant to Section 36 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P Blg. 129) and to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of the cases referred to herein, the Court Resolved to promulgate the following Revised Rule on Summary Procedure:

    I.
    Applicability

    Section 1.  Scope. — This rule shall govern the summary procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the following cases falling within their jurisdiction:
     
    A.  Civil Cases:
     
    (1)  All cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, irrespective of the amount of damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered. Where attorney's fees are awarded, the same shall not exceed twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00).

    (2)  All other civil cases, except probate proceedings, where the total amount of the plaintiff's claim does not exceed ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00), exclusive of interest and costs.
     
    B.  Criminal Cases:
     
    (1)  Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations;
    (2)  Violations of the rental law;
    (3)  Violations of municipal or city ordinances;
    (4)  All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged is imprisonment not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding (P1,000.00), or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties, accessory or otherwise, or of the civil liability arising therefrom: Provided, however, that in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence, this Rule shall govern where the imposable fine does not exceed ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00).

    This Rule shall not apply to a civil case where the plaintiffs cause of action is pleaded in the same complaint with another cause of action subject to the ordinary procedure; nor to a criminal case where the offense charged is necessarily related to another criminal case subject to the ordinary procedure.

    Sec. 2.  Determination of applicability. — Upon the filing of a civil or criminal action, the court shall issue an order declaring whether or not the case shall be governed by this Rule A patently erroneous determination to avoid the application of the Rule on Summary Procedure is a ground for disciplinary action.

    II.
    Civil Cases

    Sec.  3.  Pleadings. —

    A.  Pleadings allowed. — The only pleadings allowed to be filed are the complaints, compulsory counterclaims and cross-claims' pleaded in the answer, and the answers thereto.

    B.  Verifications. — All pleadings shall be verified.

    Sec.  4.  Duty of court. — After the court determines that the case falls under summary procedure, it may, from an examination of the allegations therein and such evidence as may be attached thereto, dismiss the case outright on any of the grounds apparent therefrom for the dismissal of a civil action. If no ground for dismissal is found it shall forthwith issue summons which shall state that the summary procedure under this Rule shall apply. d-c

    Sec.  5.  Answer. — Within ten (10) days from service of summons, the defendant shall file his answer to the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff. Affirmative and negative defenses not pleaded therein shall be deemed waived, except for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Cross-claims and compulsory counterclaims not asserted in the answer shall be considered barred. The answer to counterclaims or cross-claims shall be filed and served within ten (10) days from service of the answer in which they are pleaded.

    Sec.  6.  Effect of failure to answer. — Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint within the period above provided, the court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein: Provided, however, that the court may in its discretion reduce the amount of damages and attorney's fees claimed for being excessive or otherwise unconscionable. This is without prejudice to the applicability of Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, if there are two or more defendants.

    Sec.  7.  Preliminary conference; appearance of parties. — Not later than thirty (30) days after the last answer is filed, a preliminary conference shall be held. The rules on pre-trial in ordinary cases shall be applicable to the preliminary conference unless inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.

    The failure of the plaintiff to appear in the preliminary conference shall be a cause for the dismissal of his complaint. The defendant who appears in the absence of the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment on his counterclaim in accordance with Section 6 hereof. All cross-claims shall be dismissed.

    If a sole defendant shall fail to appear, the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment in accordance with Section 6 hereof. This Rule shall not apply where one of two or more defendants sued under a common cause of action who had pleaded a common defense shall appear at the preliminary conference.

    Sec.  8.  Record of preliminary conference. — Within five (5) days after the termination of the preliminary conference, the court shall issue an order stating the matters taken up therein, including but not limited to:

    (a)  Whether the parties have arrived at an amicable settlement, and if so, the terms thereof;

    (b)  The stipulations or admissions entered into by the parties;.

    (c)  Whether, on the basis of the pleadings and the stipulations and admissions made by the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need of further proceedings, in which event the judgment shall be rendered within thirty (30) days from issuance of the order;

    (d)  A clear specification of material facts which remain controverted; and

    (e)  Such other matters intended to expedite the disposition of the case.

    Sec.  9.  Submission of affidavits and position papers. — Within ten (10) days from receipt of the order mentioned in the next preceding section, the parties shall submit the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues defined in the order, together with their position papers setting forth the law and the facts relied upon by them.

    Sec.  10.  Rendition of judgment. — Within thirty (30) days after receipt of the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, the court shall render judgment.

    However should the court find it necessary to clarify certain material facts, it may, during the said period, issue an order specifying the matters to be clarified, and require the parties to submit affidavits or other evidence on the said matters within ten (10) days from receipt of said order. Judgment shall be rendered within fifteen (15) days after the receipt of the last clarificatory affidavits, or the expiration of the period for filing the same.

    The court shall not resort to the clarificatory procedure to gain time for the rendition of the judgment.

    III.
    Criminal Cases

    Sec.  11.  How commenced. — The filing of criminal cases falling within the scope of this Rule shall be either by complaint or by information: Provided, however, that in Metropolitan Manila and in Chartered Cities. such cases shall be commenced only by information, except when the offense cannot be prosecuted de oficio.

    The complaint or information shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the compliant and of his witnesses in such number of copies as there are accused plus two (2) copies for the court's files.If this requirement is not complied with within five (5) days from date of filing, the care may be dismissed.

    Sec.  12.  Duty of court. —

    (a)  If commenced by compliant. — On the basis of the compliant and the affidavits and other evidence accompanying the same, the court may dismiss the case outright for being patently without basis or merit and order the release of the amused if in custody.

    (b)  If commenced by information. — When the case is commenced by information, or is not dismissed pursuant to the next preceding paragraph, the court shall issue an order which, together with copies of the affidavits and other evidence submitted by the prosecution, shall require the accused to submit his counter-affidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as any evidence in his behalf, serving copies thereof on the complainant or prosecutor not later than ten (10) days from receipt of said order. The prosecution may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after receipt of the counter-affidavits of the defense.

    Sec.  13.  Arraignment and trial. — Should the court, upon a consideration of the complaint or information and the affidavits submitted by both parties, find no cause or ground to hold the accused for trial, it shall order the dismissal of the case; otherwise, the court shall set the case for arraignment and trial.

    If the accused is in custody for the crime charged, he shall be immediately arraigned and if he enters a plea of guilty, he shall forthwith be sentenced.

    Sec.  14.  Preliminary conference. — Before conducting the trial, the court shall call the parties to a preliminary conference during which a stipulation of facts may be entered into, or the propriety of allowing the accused to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense may be considered, or such other matters may be taken up to clarify the issues and to ensure a speedy disposition of the case.However, no admission by the accused shall be used against him unless reduced to writing and signed by the accused and his counsel.A refusal or failure to stipulate shall not prejudice the accused.

    Sec.  15.  Procedure of trial. — At the trial, the affidavits submitted by the parties shall constitute the direct testimonies of the witnesses who executed the same. Witnesses who testified may be subjected to cross-examination, redirect or re-cross examination. Should the affiant fail to testify, his affidavit shall not be considered as competent evidence for the party presenting the affidavit, but the adverse party may utilize the same for any admissible purpose.

    Except in rebuttal or surrebuttal, no witness shall be allowed to testify unless his affidavit was previously submitted to the court in accordance with Section 12 hereof.

    However, should a party desire to present additional affidavits or counter-affidavits as part of his direct evidence, he shall so manifest during the preliminary conference, stating the purpose thereof.  If allowed by the court, the additional affidavits of the prosecution or the counter-affidavits of the defense shall be submitted to the court and served on the adverse party not later than three (3) days after the termination of the preliminary conference. If the additional affidavits are presented by the prosecution, the accused may file his counter-affidavits and serve the same on the prosecution within three (3) days from such service.

    Sec.  16.  Arrest of accused. — The court shall not order the arrest of the accused except for failure to appear whenever required. Release of the person arrested shall either be on bail or on recognizance by a responsible citizen acceptable to the court.

    Sec.  17.  Judgment. — Where a trial has been conducted, the court shall promulgate the judgment not later than thirty (30) days after the termination of trial.

    IV.
    COMMON PROVISIONS

    Sec.  18.  Referral to Lupon. — Cases requiring referral to the Lupon for conciliation under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1508 where there is no showing of compliance with such requirement, shall be dismissed without prejudice and may be revived only after such requirement shall have been complied with.   This provision shall not apply to criminal cases where the accused was arrested without a warrant.

    Sec.  19.  Prohibited pleadings and motions. — The following pleadings, motions or petitions shall not be allowed in the cases covered by this Rule:

    (a)  Motion to dismiss the complaint or to quash the complaint or information except on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, or failure to comply with the preceding section;

    (b)  Motion for a bill of particulars;

    (c)  Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of a judgment, or for opening of trial;

    (d)  Petition for relief from judgment;

    (e)  Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper;

    (f)  Memoranda;

    (g)  Petition for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the court;

    (h)  Motion to declare the defendant in default;

    (i)  Dilatory motions for postponement;

    (j)  Reply;

    (k)  Third party complaints;

    (l)  Interventions.

    Sec.  20.  Affidavits. — The affidavits required to be submitted under this Rule shall state only facts of direct personal knowledge of the affiants which are admissible in evidence, and shall show their competence to testify to the matters stated therein.

    A violation of this requirement may subject the party or the counsel who submits the same to disciplinary action, and shall be cause to expunge the inadmissible affidavit or portion thereof from the record.

    Sec.  21.  Appeal. — The judgment or final order shall be appealable to the appropriate regional trial court which shall decide the same in accordance with Section 22 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. The decision of the regional trial court in civil cases governed by this Rule, including forcible entry and unlawful detainer, shall be immediately executory, without prejudice to a further appeal that may be taken therefrom.  Section 10 of Rule 70 shall be deemed repealed.

    Sec.  22.  Applicability of the regular rules. — The regular procedure prescribed in the Rules of Court shall apply to the special cases herein provided for in a suppletory capacity insofar as they are not inconsistent herewith.

    Sec.  23.  Effectivity. — This revised Rule on Summary Procedure shall be effective on November 15, 1991

Republic Act No. 7975 - An Act to Strengthen The Sandiganbayan

AN ACT TO STRENGTHEN THE FUNCTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL ORGANIZATION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, AMENDING FOR THAT PURPOSE PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606, AS AMENDED.
 

Section 1. Sec. 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Executive Order No. 184, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 3. Division of the Court; Quorum. - The Sandiganbayan shall sit in five (5) divisions of three justices each. The five (5) may sit at the same time.
       
      "The first three divisions shall be stationed in the Metro Manila area, the fourth division shall be in Cebu City for cases coming from the Visayas region, and the fifth division shall be in Cagayan de Oro City for cases coming from the Mindanao region.

      "Three Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions in divisions: Provided, That when the required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the Presiding Justice may designate an Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division with all the rights and prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and determination of a case or cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case, the President shall, upon the recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily therein."

Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same Decree is hereby further amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 4. Jurisdiction.  The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

      "a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:

            "(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
             
                  "(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
                   
                  "(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;

                  "(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
                   
                  "(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
                   
                  "(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
                   
                  "(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
                   
                  "(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;

      "(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
       
      "(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
       
      "(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
       
      "(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
       
      "b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.
       
      "c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
       
      "In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.

      "The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying positions lower than salary grade "27", or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration.
       
      "The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction: Provided, That the jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.

      "The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the people of the Philippines except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.

      "In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
       
      "Any provision of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned."

Sec. 3. Section 7 of the same decree is hereby amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 7. Form, Finality and Enforcement of Decisions. -  All decisions and final orders determining the merits of a case or finally disposing of the action or proceedings of the Sandiganbayan shall contain complete findings of the facts and the law on which they are based, on all issues properly raised before it and necessary in deciding the case.
       
      "A petition for reconsideration of any final order or decision may be filed within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice of the final order or judgment, and such motion for reconsideration shall be decided within thirty (30) days from submission thereon.

      "Decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Whenever, in any case decided by the Sandiganbayan, the penalty of reclusion perpetua or higher is imposed, the decision shall be appealable to the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Court. In case the penalty imposed is death, review by the Supreme Court shall be automatic, whether or not the accused filed an appeal.

      "Judgments and orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be executed and enforced in the manner provided by law.
       
      "Decisions and final orders of other courts, in cases cognizable by said courts under this Act shall be appealable to the Sandiganbayan within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice to the parties."

Sec. 4. Section 9 of the same Decree is hereby amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 9. Rules of Procedure. - The Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings filed with the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan shall have no power to promulgate its own rules of procedure, except to adopt internal rules governing the allotment of cases among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them, and other matters relating to the internal operations of the court which shall be inforced until repealed or modified by the Supreme Court."

Sec. 5. Section 10 of the same Decree is hereby repealed.
 
Sec. 6. Presidential Decrees Nos. 1486, 1606 and 1861, Executive Orders Nos. 101 and 184 and all other laws, decrees, orders and rules of which are inconsistent therewith are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
 
Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.
 
Sec. 8. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
 
Approved: 30 March 1995

Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 -  The  Judiciary  Reorganization  Act  of  1980

AN ACT REORGANIZING THE JUDICIARY, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.


PRELIMINARY CHAPTER

Section 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980."

Sec. 2. Scope. — The reorganization herein provided shall include the Court of Appeals, the Court of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts.

CHAPTER I
COURT OF APPEALS

Sec. 3. Organization. — There is hereby created a Court of Appeals which consists of a Presiding Justice and fifty Associate Justice who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines. The Presiding Justice shall be so designated in his appointment, and the Associate Justice shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective appointments, or when the appointments of two or more of them shall bear the same date, according to the order in which their appointments were issued by the President. Any member who is reappointed to the Court after rendering service in any other position in the government shall retain the precedence to which he was entitled under his original appointment, and his service in the Court shall, for all intents and purposes, be considered as continuous and uninterrupted. (As amended by Exec. Order No. 33, July 28, 1986)

Sec. 4. Exercise of powers and functions. — The Court Appeals shall exercise its powers, functions, and duties, through seventeen (17) divisions, each composed of three (3) members. The Court may sit en banc only for the purpose of exercising administrative, ceremonial, or other non-adjudicatory functions. (as amended by Exec. Order No. 33, July 26, 1986)

Sec. 5. Succession to Office of Presiding Justice. – In case of a vacancy in the absence of inability to perform the powers, functions, and duties of his office, the associate Justice who is first in precedence shall perform his powers, functions, and duties until such disability is removed, or another Presiding Justice is appointed and has qualified.

Sec. 6. Who presides over session of a division. – If the Presiding Justice is present in any session of a division of the Court, he shall preside. In his absence, the Associate Justice attending such session who has precedence shall preside.

Sec. 7. Qualifications. – The Presiding Justice and the Associate Justice shall have the same qualifications as those provided in Constitution for Justice of the Supreme Court.

Sec. 8. Grouping of Divisions. – (Expressly repealed by Section 4, Exec. Order No. 33, July 28, 1986)

Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. – The Court of Appeals shall Exercise:
1. Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction;

2. Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of Regional Trial Courts; and

3. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commission, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, Except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph 4 of the fourth paragraph od Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
The court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct new trials or Appeals must be continuous and must be completed within three (3) months, unless extended by the Chief Justice. (as amended by R. A. No. 7902)

Sec. 10. Place of holding sessions. – The Court of Appeals shall have its permanent station in the City of Manila. Whenever demanded by public interest, the Supreme Court, upon its own initiative or upon recommendation of the Presiding Justice, may authorize a division of the Court to hold sessions outside Manila, periodically, or for such periods and at such places as the Supreme Court may determine, for the purpose of hearing and deciding cases.

Sec. 11. Quorum – A majority of the actual members of the Court shall constitute a quorum for its session en banc. Three members shall constitute a quorum for the session of a division. The unanimous vote of the three members of a division shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a decision of final resolution, which shall be reached in consultation before the writing of the opinion by any members of the division. In the event that the three members do not reach a unanimous vote, the Presiding Justice shall request the Raffle Committee of the Court for the designation of two additional Justice to sit temporarily with them, forming a special division of five members and the concurrence of a majority of such division shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a decision or final resolution. The designation of such additional Justice shall be made strictly by raffle.

A month for reconsideration of its decision or final resolution shall be resolved by the Court within ninety (90) days from the time it is submitted for resolution, and no second motion for reconsideration from the same party shall be entertainment. (As amended by Exec. Order No. 33, July 28, 1986)

Sec. 12. Internal Rules. – The court en banc is authorized to promulgate rules or orders governing the constitution of the divisions and the assignment of Appellate Justices thereto, the distribution of cases, and other matters pertaining to the operations of the Court of its divisions. Copies of such rules and orders shall be furnished by the Supreme Court, which rules and orders shall be effective fifteen (15) days after receipt thereof, unless directed otherwise by the Supreme Court.

CHAPTER II
REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS

Sec. 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. – There are hereby created thirteen (13) Regional Trial Courts, one for each of the following judicial regions:

    The First Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Mountain Province, and Pangasinan, and cities of Baguio, Dagupan, Laoag and San Carlos;

    The Second Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, Nueva Viscaya, and Quirino;

    The Third Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan (except the municipality of Valenzuela), Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales, and the cities of Angeles, Cabanatuan, Olongapo, Palayan and San Jose;

    The National Capital Judicial Region, consisting of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan and Mandaluyong, and the municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, San Juan, Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Valenzuela;

    The Fourth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Palawan, Quezon, Rizal (except the cities and municipalities embraced within the National Capital Judicial Region, Romblon, and Aurora, and the cities of Batangas, Cavite, Lipa, Lucena, Puerto Princesa, San Pablo, Tagaytay, and Trece Martirez;

    The Fifth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon, and the cities of Legaspi, Naga and Iriga;

    The Sixth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, La Carlota, Roxas, San Carlos, and Silay, and the subprovince of Guimaras;

    The Seventh Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, and the cities of Bais, Canlaon, Cebu, Danao, Dumaguete, Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, Tagbilaran, and Toledo,

    The Eighth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces or Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern, Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc, and Tacloban:

    The Ninth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, and the cities of Dapitan, Dipolog, Pagadian, and Zamboanga;

    The Tenth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Surigao del Norte, and the cities of Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, Ozamis, Oroquieta, Surigao, and Tangub;

    The Eleventh Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, and Surigao del Sur, and the cities of Davao, and General Santos; and

    The Twelfth Judicial Region, consisting of the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of Cotabato, Iligan, and Marawi.

In case of transfer or redistribution of the provinces, subprovinces, cities or municipalities comprising the regions established by law of purposes of the administrative field organization of the various departments and agencies of the government, the composition of the judicial regions herein constituted shall be deemed modified accordingly.

Sec. 14. Regional Trial Courts.
(a) Fifty-seven Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the First Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Two branches (Branches III and II) for the province of Abra, with seats at Bangued;

Eight branches (Branches III to X) for the province of Benguet and the city of Baguio, Branches III to VII with seats at Baguio City, and Branches VIII to X at La Trinidad;

Nine branches (Branches XI to XIX) for the province of Ilocos Norte and the city of Laoag, Branches XI to XVI with seats at Laoag City, Branches XVII and XVIII at Batac, and Branch XIX at Bangui;

Six branches (Branches XX to XXV) for the province of Ilocos Sur, Branches XX and XXI with seats at Vigan, Branch XXII at Narvacan, Branch XXIII at Candon, Branch XXIV at Cabugao, and Branch XXV at Tagudin;

Nine branches (Branches XXVI to XXXIV) for the province of La Union, Branches XXVI to XXX with seats at San Fernando, Branches XXXI and XXXII at Agoo, Branch XXXIII at Bauang, and Branch XXXIV at Balaoan;

Two branches (Branches XXXV and XXXVI) for the province of Mountain province, with seats at Bontoc; and

Twenty-one branches (Branches XXXVII to LVII) for the province of Pangasinan and the cities of Dagupan and San Carlos, Branches XXXVII to XXXIX with seats at Lingayen, Branches XL to XLIV at Dagupan, Branches XLV to XLIX at Urdaneta, Branch L at Villasis, Branches LI and LII at Tayug, Branch LIII at Rosales, Branches LIV and LV at Alaminos, and Branch LVI and LVII at San Carlos.
 
(b) Thirty-two Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Second Judicial region. There shall be:
 
Twelve branches (Branches I to XII) for the province of Cagayan, Branches I to V with seats at Tuguegarao, Branches VI to X at Aparri, Branch XI at Tuao, and Branch XII at Sanchez Mira;

One branch (Branch XIII) for the province of Batanes, with seat at Basco;

Two branches (Branches XIV and XV) for the province of Ifugao, Branch XIV with seat at Lagawe, and Branch XV at Potia;

Nine branches (Branches XVI to XXIV) for the province of Isabela, Branches XVI to XVIII with seats at Ilagan, Branches XIX and XX at Cauayan, Branch XXI at Santiago, Branch XXII at Cabagan, Branch XXIII at Roxas, and Branch XXIV at Echague;

Two branches (Branches XXV and XXVI) for the province of Kalinga-Apayao, Branch XXV with seat at Tabuk, and Branch XXVI at Luna;

Four branches (Branches XXVII to XXX) for the province of Nueva Vizcaya, Branches XXVII to XXIX with seats at Bayombong, and Branch XXX at Bambang;

Two branches (Branches XXXI and XXXII) for the province of Quirino, with seats at Cabarroguis.
 
(c) Seventy-five Regional Trial judges shall be commissioned for the Third Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Five branches (Branches I to V) for the province of Bataan, Branches I to III with seats at Balanga, Branch IV at Mariveles, and Branch V at Dinalupihan;

Seventeen branches (Branches VI to XXII) for the province of Bulacan (except the municipality of Valenzuela), with seats at Malolos;

Eighteen branches (Branches XXIII to XL) for the province of Nueva Ecija and the cities of Cabanatuan, San Jose and Palayan, Branches XXIII to XXX with seats at Cabanatuan City, Branches XXXI to XXXIII at Guimba, Branches XXXIV to XXXVI at Gapan, Branch XXXVII at Sto. Domingo, Branches XXXVIII and XXXIX at San Jose, and Branch XL at Palayan.

Twenty-two branches (Branches XLI to LXII) for the province of Pampanga and the city of Angeles, Branches XLI to XLVIII with seats at San Fernando, Branches XLIX to LIII at Guagua, Branches LIV and LV at Macabebe, and Branches LVI to LXII at Angeles City;

Six branches (Branches LXIII to LXVIII) for the province of Tarlac, Branches LXVI at Capas, Branch LXVII at Paniqui, and Branch LXVIII at Camiling; and

Seven branches (Branches LXIX to LXXV) for the province of Zambales and the city of Olongapo, Branches LXIX to LXXI with seats at Iba and Branches LXXII to LXXV at Olongapo City
 
(d) One hundred seventy-two (172) Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the National Capital Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Fifty-five branches (Branches 1 to 55) for the City of Manila, wit seats thereat;

Thirty-two branches (Branches 76 to 107) for Quezon City, with seats thereat;

Twelve branches (Branches 108 to 119) for Pasay City, with seats thereat;

Twelve branches (Branches 120 to 131) for Caloocan City, with seats thereat;

Fifty-eight branches (Branches 56 to 74 and 132 to 170) for the Municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa; Branches 67 to 71 and 151 to 168 at Pasig; and Branches 72 to 74, 169 and 170 at Malabon; and

Three branches (Branches 75, 171 and 172) for the municipality of Valenzuela, with seats thereat. (As amended by Executive Order No. 33, July 30, 1986)
 
(e) Eighty-two Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Fourth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Fourteen branches (Branches I to XIV) for the province of Batangas and the cities of Lipa and Batangas, Branches I to VI with seats at Batangas City, Branch V at Lemery, Branches VI to VIII at Tanauan, Branches IX to XI at Balayan, Branches XII and XIII at Lipa, and Branch XIV at Nasugbu;

Nine branches (Branches XV to XXIII) for the province of Cavite and the cities of Cavite, Tagaytay and Trece Martirez, Branch XV with seat at Naic, Branches XVII at Cavite City, Branch XVIII at Tagaytay City, Branch XIX at Bacoor, Branches XX to XXII at Imus, and Branch XXIII at Trece Martirez;

Fourteen branches (Branches XXIV to XXXVII) for the province of Laguna and the city of San Pablo, Branches XXVIII at Sta. Cruz, Branches XXIX to XXXII at San Pablo City, Branch XXXIII at Siniloan, and Branches XXXIV to XXXVI at Calamba;

One branch (Branch XXXVIII) for the province of Marinduque, with seat at Boac;

Five branches (Branches XXXIX to XLIII) for the province of Mindoro Oriental, Branches XXXIX to XL with seats at Calapan, Branches XLI and XLII at Pinamalayan, and Branch XLII at Roxas;

Three branches (Branches XLVII to XLVI) for the province of Mindoro Occidental, Branch XLIV with seat at Mamburao, and Branches XLV and XLVI at San Jose;

Six branches (Branches XLVII to LII) for the province of Palawan and the city of Puerto Princesa, with seats at Puerto Princesa City;

Thirteen branches (Branches LIII to LXV) for the province of Quezon and the city of Lucena, Branches LIII to LX with seats at Lucena City, Branches LXI and LXII at Gumaca, Branch LXIII at Calauag, Branch LXIV at Mauban, and Branch LXV at Infanta;

One branch (Branch LXVI) for the province of Aurora, with seat at Baler;

Fourteen branches (Branches LXVII to LXXX) for the province of Rizal except the cities and municipalities embraced within the National Capital Judicial Region, Branches LXVII to LXX with seats at Binangonan, Branches LXXI to LXXIV at Antipolo, Branches LXXV to LXXVII at San Mateo, and Branches LXXVIII to LXXX at Morong; and

Two branches (Branches LXXXI and LXXXII) for the province of Romblon, Branch LXXXI with seat at Romblon, and Branch LXXXII at Odiongan.
 
(f) Fifty-five Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Fifth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Eighteen branches (Branches I to XVIII) for the province of Albay and the City of Legaspi, Branches I to X with seats at Legaspi City, Branches XI to XIV at Ligao, and Branches XV to XVIII at Tabaco;

Nineteen branches (Branches XIX to XXXVII) for the province of Camarines Sur and the cities of Naga and Iriga, Branches XIX to XXVIII with seats at Naga City, Branch XXIX at Libmanan, Branch XXX at Tigaoan, Branches XXXI to XXXIII at Pili, and Branches XXXIV to XXXVII at Iriga City;

Four branches (Branches XXXVIII to XLII) for the province of Camarines Norte, with seat at Daet;

Two branches (Branches XLII and XLII) for the province of Catanduanes, with seats at Virac;

Seven branches (Branches XLIV to L) for the province of Masbate, Branches XLIV to XLVIII with seats at Masbate, Branch XLIX at Cataingan, and Branch L at San Jacinto; and

Five branches (Branches LI to LV) for the province of Sorsogon, Branches LI to LIII with seats at Sorsogon, Branch LVI at Gubat, and Branch LV at Irosin.
 
(g) Sixty-three Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Sixth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Nine branches (Branches I to IX) for the province of Aklan, with seats at Kalibo;

Four branches (Branches X to XIII) for the province of Antique, Branches X to XII with seats at San Jose, and Branch XIII and Culasi;

Eight branches (Branches XIV to XXI) for the province of Capiz and the city of Roxas, Branches XIV to XIX with seats at Roxas City and Branches XX and XXI at Mambusao;

Eighteen branches (Branches XXII to XXXIX) for the province of Iloilo, the subprovince of Guimaras, and the city of Iloilo, with seats at Iloilo City; and

Twenty-four branches (Branches XL to LXIII) for the province of Negros Occidental, and the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Cadiz, La Carlota, San Carlos and Silay, Branch XL with seat at Silay City, Branches XLI to LIV at Bacolod City, Branches LV and LVI at Himamaylan, Branches LVII to LIX at Kabankalan, Branch LXII at Bago City, and Branch LXII at La Carlota City.
 
(h) Forty-six Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Seventh Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Four branches (Branches I to IV) for the province of Bohol and the city of Tagbilaran, with seats at Tagbilaran City;

Twenty-five branches (Branches V to XXIX) for the province of Cebu and the cities of Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Toledo, Branches V to XXIV with seats at Cebu City, Branch XXV at Danao City, Branch XXVI at Argao, Branch XXVII at Lapu-Lapu City, Branch XXVIII at Mandaue City, and Branch XXIX at Toledo City;

Sixteen branches (Branches XXX to XLV) for the province of Negros Oriental and the cities of Dumaguete, Bais and Canlaon, Branches XXX to XLIV with seats at Dumaguete City, and Branch XLV at Bais City; and

One branch (Branch XLVI) for the province of Siquijor, with seat at Larena.
 
(i) Thirty-three Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Eighth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Five branches (Branches I to V) for the province of Eastern Samar, Branches I and II with seats at Borongan, Branch III at Guiuan, Branch IV at Dolores, and Branch V at Oras;

Thirteen branches (Branches VI to XVIII) for the province of Leyte, the sub-province of Biliran, and the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban, Branches VI and IX with seats at Tacloban City, Branch X at Abuyog, Branch XI at Calubian, Branch XII at Ormoc City, Branch XIII at Carigara, Branch XIV at Baybay, Branch XV at Burauen, Branch XVI at Naval, Branch XVII at Palompon, and Branch XVIII at Hilongos;

Five branches (Branches XIX to XXIII) for the province of Northern Samar, Branches XIX and XX with seats at Catarman, Branches XXI and XXII at Laoang, and Branch XXIII at Allen;

Three branches (Branches XXIV to XXVI) for the province of Southern Leyte, Branches XXIV and XXV with seats at Maasin, and Branch XXVI at San Juan; and

Seven branches (Branches XXVII to XXXIII) for the province of Samar and the city of Calbayog, Branches XXVII to XXIX with seats at Catbalogan, Branch XXX at Basey, Branches XXXI and XXXII at Calbayog City, and Branch XXXIII at Calbiga.
 
(j) Twenty-four Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Ninth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Two branches (Branches I and II) for the province of Basilan, with seats at Isabela;

Two branches (Branches III and IV) for the province of Sulu, Branch III with seat at Jolo, and Branch IV at Parang;

One branch (Branch V) for the province of Tawi-Tawi, with seat at Bongao;

Six branches (Branches VI to XI) for the province of Zamboanga del Norte, and the cities of Dipolog and Dapitan, Branches VI to X seats at Dipolog City, and Branch XI at Sindangan; and

Thirteen branches (Branches XII to XXIV) for the province of Zamboanga del Sur and the cities of Pagadian and Zamboanga Branches XII to XVII with seats at Zamboanga City, Branches, XVIII to XXII at Pagadian City, Branch XXIII at Molave, and Branch XXIV at Ipil.
 
(k) Thirty-two Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Tenth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Five branches (Branches I to V) for the province of Agusan del Norte and the city of Butuan, with seats at Butuan City;

Two branches (Branches VI and VII) for the province of Agusan del Sur, Branches VI with seat at Prosperidad and Branch VII with seat at Bayugan;

Four branches (Branches VIII to XI) for the province of Bukidnon, Branches VIII to X with seats at Malaybalay and Branch XI at Manalo Fortich;

Five branches (Branches XII to XI) for the province of Misamis Occidental and the cities of Oroquieta, Ozamis, and Tangub, Branches XII to XIV with seats at Oroquieta City, Branch XV at Ozamis City, and Branch XVI at Tangub City;

Eleven branches (Branches XVII to XXVII) for the province of Misamis Oriental and the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog, Branches XVII to XXV with seats at Cagayan de Oro City, Branch XXVI at Medina, and Branch XXVII at Gingoog City;

One branch (Branch XXVIII) for the province of Camiguin, with seat at Mambajao; and

Four branches (Branches XXIX to XXXII) for the province of Surigao del Norte and the City of Surigao, Branches XXIX and XXX with seats at Surigao City, Branch XXXI at Dapa, and Branch XXXII at Dinagat, Dinagat Island.
 
(l) Twenty-nine Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Eleventh Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Four branches (Branches I to IV) for the province of Davao del Norte, Branches I and II with seats at Tagum, Branch III at Nabunturan, and Branch IV at Panabo;

Three branches (Branches V to VII) for the province of Davao Oriental, Branches V and VI with seats at Mati and Branch VII at Banganga;

Fourteen branches (Branches VIII to XXI) for the province of Davao del Sur and the city of Davao, Branches VIII to XVII with seats at Davao City, Branches XVIII and XIX at Digos, Branch XX at Malinta, and Branch XXI a Bansalan;

Five Branches (Branches XXII to XXVI) for the province of South Cotabato and the city of General Santos, Branches XXII and XXIII with seats at General Santos City, Branches XXIV and XXV at Koronadal, and Branch XXVI at Surallah; and

Three branches (Branches XXVII to XXIX) for the province of Surigao del Sur, Branch XXVII with seat at Tandag, Branch XXVIII at Lianga, and Branch XXIX at Bislig.
 
(m) Twenty Regional Trial Judges shall be commissioned for the Twelfth Judicial Region. There shall be:
 
Seven branches (Branches I to VII) for the province of Lanao del Norte and the city of Iligan, Branches I to VI with seats at Iligan City, and Branch VII at Tubod;

Five branches (Branches VIII to XII) for the province of Lanao del Sur and the city of Marawi, Branches VIII to X with seats at Marawi City, and Branches XI and XII at Malabang;

Three branches (Branches XIII to XV) for the province of Maguindanao and the city of Cotabato, Branches XIII and XIV with seats at Cotabato City, and Branch XV at Maganoy;

Three branches (Branches XVI to XVIII) for the province of North Cotabato, Branch XVI with seat at Kabacan, Branch XVII at Kidapawan, and Branch XVIII at Midsayap; and

Two branches (Branches XIX and XX) for the province of Sultan Kudarat, Branch XIX, with seat at Isulan, and Branch XX at Tacurong.
Sec. 15. Qualifications. — No persons shall be appointed Regional Trial Judge unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least thirty-five years of age, and for at least ten years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite.

Sec. 16. Time and duration of sessions. — The time and duration of daily sessions of the Regional Trial Courts shall be determined by the Supreme Court: Provided, however, That all motions, except those requiring immediate action, shall be heard in the afternoon of every Friday, unless it falls on a holiday, in which case, the hearing shall be held on the afternoon of the next succeeding business day: Provided, further, That the Supreme Court may, for good reasons, fix a different motion day in specified areas

Sec. 17. Appointment and assignment of Regional Trial Judges. — Every Regional Trial Judge shall be appointed to a region which shall be his permanent station, and his appointment shall state the branch of the court and the seat thereof to which he shall be originally assigned. However, the Supreme Court may assign temporarily a Regional Trial Judge to another region as public interest may require, provided that such temporary assignment shall not last longer than six (6) months without the consent of the Regional Trial Judge concerned.

A Regional Trial Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch or city or municipality within the same region as public interest may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station within the meaning of this section.

Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. — The Supreme Court shall define the territory over which a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial area of the branch concerned for purposes of determining the venue of all suits, proceedings or actions, whether civil or criminal, as well as determining the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts over the said branch may exercise appellate jurisdiction. The power herein granted shall be exercised with a view to making the courts readily accessible to the people of the different parts of the region and making the attendance of litigants and witnesses as inexpensive as possible.

Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:
(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation;

(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such the value exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts;

(3) In all actions in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction where he demand or claim exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila, where such demand or claim exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (200,000.00);

(4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of the estate exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in probate matters in Metro Manila, where such gross value exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (200,000.00);

(5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations;

(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising jurisdiction or any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions;

(7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and of the Courts of Agrarian Relations as now provided by law; and

(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (100,000.00) or, in such other above-mentioned items exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (200,000.00). (As amended by R. A. No. 7691)
Sec. 20. Jurisdiction in criminal cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or body, except those now falling under the exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be exclusively taken cognizance of by the latter.

Sec. 21. Original jurisdiction in other cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise original jurisdiction:
(1) In the issuance of writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions; and

(2) In actions affecting ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls.
Sec. 22. Appellate jurisdiction. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions. Such cases shall be decided on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may be submitted by the parties or required by the Regional Trial Courts. The decision of the Regional Trial Courts in such cases shall be appealable by petition for review to the

Court of Appeals which may give it due course only when the petition shows prima facie that the lower court has committed an error of fact or law that will warrant a reversal or modification of the decision or judgment sought to be reviewed.

Sec. 23. Special jurisdiction to try special cases. — The Supreme Court may designate certain branches of the Regional Trial Courts to handle exclusively criminal cases, juvenile and domestic relations cases, agrarian cases, urban land reform cases which do not fall under the jurisdiction of quasi-judicial bodies and agencies, and/or such other special cases as the Supreme Court may determine in the interest of a speedy and efficient administration of justice.

Sec. 24. Special Rules of Procedure. — Whenever a Regional Trial Court takes cognizance of juvenile and domestic relation cases and/or agrarian cases, the special rules of procedure applicable under present laws to such cases shall continue to be applied, unless subsequently amended by law or by rules of court promulgated by the Supreme Court.

CHAPTER III
METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS

Sec. 25. Establishment of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. — There shall be created a Metropolitan Trial Court in each metropolitan area established by law, a Municipal Trial Court in each of the other cities or municipalities, and a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each circuit comprising such cities and/or municipalities as are grouped together pursuant to law.

Sec. 26. Qualifications. — No person shall be appointed judge of a Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 30 years of age, and, for at least five years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines, or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite.

Sec. 27. Metropolitan Trial Courts of the National Capital Region. — There shall be a Metropolitan Trial Court in the National Capital Region, to be known as the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila, which shall be composed of eighty-two (82) branches. There shall be:
Thirty branches (Branches I to XXX) for the city of Manila with seats thereat;

Thirteen branches (Branches XXXI to XLIII) for Quezon City with seats thereat;

Five branches (Branches XLIV to XLVIII) for Pasay City with seats thereat;

Five branches (Branches XLIX to LIII) for Caloocan City with seats thereat;

One branch (Branch LIV) for Navotas with seat thereat;

Two branches (Branches LV and LVI) for Malabon with seats thereat;

Two branches (Branches LVII and LVIII) for San Juan with seats thereat;

Two branches (Branches LIX and LX) for Mandaluyong with seats thereat;

Seven branches (Branches LXI and LXVII) for Makati with seats thereat;

Five branches (Branches LXVIII to LXXII) for Pasig with seats thereat;

One branch (Branch LXXIII) for Pateros with seat thereat;

One branch (Branch LXXIV) for Taguig with seat thereat;

Two branches (Branches LXXV and LXXVI) for Marikina with seats thereat;

Two branches (Branches LXXVII and LXXVIII) for Parañaque with seats thereat;

One branch (Branch LXXIX) for Las Piñas with seat thereat;

One branch (Branch LXXX) for Muntinlupa with seat thereat;

Two branches (Branches LXXXI and LXXXII) for Valenzuela with seats thereat;
Sec. 28. Other Metropolitan Trial Courts. — The Supreme Court shall constitute Metropolitan Trial Courts in such other metropolitan areas as may be established by law whose territorial jurisdiction shall be co-extensive with the cities and municipalities comprising the metropolitan area.

Every Metropolitan Trial Judge shall be appointed to a metropolitan area which shall be his permanent station and his appointment shall state branch of the court and the seat thereof to which he shall be originally assigned. A Metropolitan Trial Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch within said metropolitan area as the interest of justice may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station within the meaning of this section.

Sec. 29. Municipal Trial Courts in cities. — In every city which does not form part of a metropolitan area, there shall be a Municipal Trial Court with one branch, except as hereunder provided:
Two branches for Laoag City;

Four branches for Baguio City;

Three branches for Dagupan City;

Five branches for Olongapo City;

Three branches for Cabanatuan City;

Two branches for San Jose City;

Three branches for Angeles City;

Two branches for Cavite City;

Two branches for Batangas City;

Two branches for Lucena City;

Three branches for Naga City;

Two branches for Iriga City;

Three branches for Legaspi City;

Two branches for Roxas City;

Four branches for Iloilo City;

Seven branches for Bacolod City;

Two branches for Dumaguete City;

Two branches for Tacloban City;

Eight branches for Cebu City;

Three branches for Mandaue City;

Two branches for Tagbilaran City;

Two branches for Surigao City;

Two branches for Butuan City;

Five branches for Cagayan de Oro City;

Seven branches for Davao City;

Three branches for General Santos City;

Two branches for Oroquieta City;

Three branches for Ozamis City;

Two branches for Dipolog City;

Four branches for Zamboanga City;

Two branches for Pagadian City; and

Two branches for Iligan City.
Sec. 30. Municipal Trial Courts. — In each of the municipalities that are not comprised within a metropolitan area and a municipal circuit there shall be a Municipal Trial Court which shall have one branch, except as hereunder provided:
Two branches for San Fernando, La Union;

Four branches for Tuguegarao;

Three branches for Lallo, and two branches for Aparri, both of Cagayan;

Two branches for Santiago, Isabela;

Two branches each for Malolos, Meycauayan and Bulacan, all of Bulacan Province;

Four branches for San Fernando and two branches for Guagua, both of Pampanga;

Two branches for Tarlac, Tarlac;

Two branches for San Pedro, Laguna; and

Two branches each for Antipolo and Binangonan, both in Rizal.
Sec. 31. Municipal Circuit Trial Court. — There shall be a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each area defined as a municipal circuit, comprising one or more cities and/or one or more municipalities. The municipalities comprising municipal circuits as organized under Administrative Order No. 33, issued on June 13, 1978 by the Supreme Court pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 537, are hereby constituted as municipal circuits for purposes of the establishment of the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the appointment thereto of Municipal Circuit Trial Judges: Provided, however, That the Supreme Court may, as the interests of justice may require, further reorganize the said courts taking into account workload, geographical location, and such other factors as will contribute to a rational allocation thereof, pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 537 which shall be applicable insofar as they are not inconsistent with this Act.

Every Municipal Circuit Trial Judge shall be appointed to a municipal circuit which shall be his official station.

The Supreme Court shall determine the city or municipality where the Municipal Circuit Trial Court shall hold sessions.

Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in criminal cases. — Except in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction; and

(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof. (As amended by R. A, No. 7691)
Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where such personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) exclusive of interest damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That where there are several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions;

(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession.

(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided, That value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots. (As amended by R. A. No. 7691)
Sec. 34. Delegated jurisdiction in cadastral and land registration cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts may be assigned by the Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or opposition, or contested lots the where the value of which does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00), such value to be ascertained by the affidavit of the claimant or by agreement of the respective claimants if there are more than one, or from the corresponding tax declaration of the real property. Their decisions in these cases shall be appealable in the same manner as decisions of the Regional Trial Courts. (As amended by R. A. No. 7691)

Sec. 35. Special jurisdiction in certain cases. — In the absence of all the Regional Trial Judges in a province or city, any Metropolitan Trial Judge, Municipal Trial Judge, Municipal Circuit Trial Judge may hear and decide petitions for a writ of habeas corpus or applications for bail in criminal cases in the province or city where the absent Regional Trial Judges sit.

Sec. 36. Summary procedures in special cases. — In Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts with at least two branches, the Supreme Court may designate one or more branches thereof to try exclusively forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases, those involving violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations, violations of the rental law, and such other cases requiring summary disposition as the Supreme Court may determine. The Supreme Court shall adopt special rules or procedures applicable to such cases in order to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination thereof without regard to technical rules. Such simplified procedures may provide that affidavits and counter-affidavits may be admitted in lieu of oral testimony and that the periods for filing pleadings shall be non-extendible.

Section 37. Preliminary investigation. — Judges of Metropolitan Trial Courts, except those in the National Capital Region, of Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall have authority to conduct preliminary investigation of crimes alleged to have been committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions which are cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts.

The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Section 1, paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d), of Presidential Decree No. 911: Provided, however, That if after the preliminary investigation the Judge finds a prima facie case, he shall forward the records of the case to the Provincial/City Fiscal for the filing of the corresponding information with the proper court.

No warrant of arrest shall be issued by the Judge in connection with any criminal complaint filed with him for preliminary investigation, unless after an examination in writing and under oath or affirmation of the complainant and his witnesses, he finds that a probable cause exists.

Any warrant of arrest issued in accordance herewith may be served anywhere in the Philippines.

Sec. 38. Judgments and processes. —
(1) All judgments determining the merits of cases shall be in writing, stating clearly the facts and the law on which they were based, signed by the Judge and filed with the Clerk of Court. Such judgment shall be appealable to the Regional Trial Courts in accordance with the procedure now prescribed by law for appeals to the Court of First Instance, by the provisions of this Act, and by such rules as the Supreme Court may hereafter prescribe.

(2) All processes issued by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, in cases falling within their jurisdiction, may be served anywhere in the Philippines without the necessity of certification by the Judge of the Regional Trial Court.
CHAPTER IV
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 39. Appeals. — The period for appeal from final orders, resolutions, awards, judgments, or decisions of any court in all cases shall be fifteen (15) days counted from the notice of the final order, resolution, award, judgment, or decision appealed from: Provided however, That in habeas corpus cases, the period for appeal shall be forty-eight (48) hours from the notice of the judgment appealed from.

No record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal. In lieu thereof, the entire record shall be transmitted with all the pages prominently numbered consecutively, together with an index of the contents thereof.

This section shall not apply in appeals in special proceedings and in other cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed under applicable provisions of the Rules of Court.

Sec. 40. Form of decision in appealed cases. — Every decision of final resolution of a court in appealed cases shall clearly and distinctly state the findings of fact and the conclusions of law on which it is based, which may be contained in the decision or final resolution itself, or adopted by reference from those set forth in the decision, order, or resolution appealed from.

Sec. 41. Salaries. — Intermediate Appellate Justices, Regional Trial Judges, Metropolitan Trial Judges, Municipal Trial Judges, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judges shall receive such compensation and allowances as may be authorized by the President along the guidelines set forth in Letter of Implementation No. 93 pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 985, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597.

Sec. 42. Longevity pay. — A monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay shall be paid to the Justices and Judges of the courts herein created for each five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the judiciary: Provided, That in no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after this longevity pay is added, exceed the salary of the Justice or Judge next in rank.

Sec. 43. Staffing pattern. — The Supreme Court shall submit to the President, within thirty (30) days from the date of the effectivity of this Act, a staffing pattern for all courts constituted pursuant to this Act which shall be the basis of the implementing order to be issued by the President in accordance with the immediately succeeding section.

Sec. 44. Transitory provisions. — The provisions of this Act shall be immediately carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to be issued by the President. The Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as presently constituted and organized, until the completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office. The cases pending in the old Courts shall be transferred to the appropriate Courts constituted pursuant to this Act, together with the pertinent functions, records, equipment, property and the necessary personnel.

The applicable appropriations shall likewise be transferred to the appropriate courts constituted pursuant to this Act, to be augmented as may be necessary from the funds for organizational changes as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 80. Said funding shall thereafter be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

Sec. 45. Shari'a Courts. — Shari'a Courts to be constituted as provided for in Presidential Decree No. 1083, otherwise known as the "Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines," shall be included in the funding appropriations so provided in this Act.

Sec. 46. Gratuity of judges and personnel separated from office. — All members of the judiciary and subordinate employees who shall be separated from office by reason of the reorganization authorized herein, shall be granted a gratuity at a rate equivalent to one month's salary for every year of continuous service rendered in any branch of the government or equivalent nearest fraction thereof favorable to them on the basis of the highest salary received: Provided, That such member of the judiciary or employee shall have the option to retire under the Judiciary Retirement Law or general retirement law, if he has met or satisfied the requirements therefor.

Sec. 47. Repealing clause. — The provisions of Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, of Republic Act No. 5179 as amended, of the Rules of Court, and of all other statutes, letters of instructions and general order or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or accordingly modified.
Sec. 48. Date of Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect immediately.

Approved: August 14, 1981

AN ACT FURTHER DEFINING THE JURISDICTION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606, AS AMENDED, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES


 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of epresentatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
 
Section 1. The first paragraph of Sec. 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:  
"Sec. 1. Sandiganbayan; Composition, Qualifications; Tenure; Removal and Compensation. - A special court, of the same level as the Court of Appeals and possessing all the inherent powers of a court ofjustice, to be known as the Sandiganbayan is hereby created composed of a presiding  justice and fourteen associate justices who shall be appointed by the President."

Sec. 2. Sec. 2 of the same decree is hereby further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 2. Official Station; Place of Holding Sessions. - The Sandiganbayan shall have its principal office in the Metro Manila area and shall hold sessions thereat for the trial and determination of cases filed with it: Provided, however, That cases originating from the principal geographical regions of the country, that is, from Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao, shall be heard in their respective regions of origin except only when the greater convenience of the    accused and of the witnesses, or other compelling considerations require the contrary, in which instance a case originating from one geographical region may be heard in another geographical region: Provided, further, That for this purpose the presiding justice shall authorize any divisions of the court to hold sessions at any time and place outside Metro  Manila and, where the interest of justice so requires, outside the territorial boundaries of the Philippines. The Sandiganbayan may require the services of the personnel and the use of facilities of the courts or other government offices where any of the divisions is holding sessions and the personnel of such courts or offices shall be subject to the orders of the Sandiganbayan."

Sec. 3. The second paragraph of Sec. 3 of the same decree is hereby deleted.
 
Sec. 4. Sec. 4 of the same decree is hereby further amended to read as follows:  
"a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices  Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
 
"(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade '27' and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
 
"(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers and other provincial department heads;
 
"(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the   sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors engineers and other city department heads;
 
"(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
 
"(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
 
"(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher;
 
"(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
 
"(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of  government-owned or -controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
 
"(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade'27'and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
 
"(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
 
"(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
 
"(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade'27'and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
 
"b. Other offenses orfelonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subSec. a of this Sec. in relation to their office.
 
"c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
 
"In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade '27' or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military or PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,   metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court and municipal circuit trial court ' as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.
 
"The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders or regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction orof their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided.
 
"The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction  and over petitions of similar nature, including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under Executive Order Nos. 1,2,14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be  exclusive of the Supreme Court.
 
The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
 
"In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees, including those employed in govemment-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
 
"Any provisions of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had therefore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned."

Sec. 5. Sec. 7 of the same decree is hereby further amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 7. Form, Finality and Enforcement of Decisions. - All decisions and final orders determining the merits of a case or finally disposing of the action or proceedings of the Sandijanbayan shall contain complete findings of the facts and the law on which they are based, on all issues properly raised before it and necessary in deciding the case.

"A petition for reconsideration of any final order or decision may be filed within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice of the final order on judgment, and such motion for reconsideration shall be decided within thirty (30) days from submission thereon.

"Decisions and final orders ofthe Sandiganbyan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Whenever, in any case decided by the Sandiganbayan, the penalty of reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment or death is imposed, the decision shall be appealable to the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Court.

"Judgments and orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be executed and enforced in the manner provided by law.

"Decisions and final orders of other courts in cases cognizable by said courts under this decree as well as those rendered by them in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction shall be appealable to, or be reviewable by, the Sandiganbayan in the manner provided by Rule 122 of the Rules of the Court.
"In case, however, the imposed penalty by the Sandiganbayan or the regional trial court in the proper exercise of their respective jurisdictions, is death, review by the Supreme Court shall be automatic, whether or not accused files an appeal."

Sec. 6. Appropriations. - The amount necessary to carry out the initial implementation of this Act shall be charged against the current fiscal year appropriations of the Sandiganbayan. Thereafter, such sums as may be needed for its continued implementation shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. - This Act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has not begun as of the approval hereof

Sec. 8. Separability of Provisions. - If for any reason any provision of this Act is declared unconstitutional or invalid, such parts or portions not affected thereby shall remain in full force and effect.

Sec. 9. Repealing Clause. - All acts, decrees, general orders and circulars, or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Sec. 10. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved: February 5, 1997