Gordon bill seeks to declog RTC dockets by expanding coverage of municipal courts

Published January 21, 2021, 1:39 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate has started debate on a bill that seeks to help de-clog the dockets of the second level courts or the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) and to speed up the disposition of cases.

Senator Richard Gordon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

This came after Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, sponsored on the Senate floor his Senate Bill (SB) 1886.

During the interpellation for SB 1886, Gordon said that this objective could be attained by expanding the jurisdictional threshold of the first level courts or the Municipal Trial Courts as there are a higher number of pending cases at the second level courts.

“The congestion of our courts’ dockets deprives the courts of time. Judges need time to study, analyze and research to come up with good, reasonable decisions. The quality of justice is therefore adversely affected by the congestion of our courts’ dockets. There are not enough courts or judges to meet the demands of our countrymen,” he said.

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

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

SB 1886 will also address the delay in the disposition cases due to overloading of cases assigned per judge.

As Gordon pointed out, there are so many cases to be heard but very few judges are deciding on the cases.