SC guidelines to speed up resolution of expropriation cases

Published January 30, 2021, 1:02 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The Supreme Court has issued new guidelines which are intended to speed up expropriation cases concerning properties affected by government road  projects.

Supreme Court (SC) (MANILA BULLETIN)

“With the designation of special courts to specifically handle expropriation cases as well as the issuance of the said Guidelines which provide for deadlines in court proceedings, it is expected that the expropriation cases filed before our courts will be resolved faster and swifter,” SC Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said in a statement issued on Friday, Jan. 29.

“Thus, delays in the completion of the national government’s infrastructure projects will be negated,” he added.

Under the Guidelines for Special Expropriation Court for Public Roads, the SC Public Information Office (SCPIO) said “expropriation case(s) shall strictly comply with the 2019 Proposed Amendments to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedures where trial shall be terminated within one hundred eighty days from the initial presentation of evidence.”

“Judgement shall be rendered within ninety days from submission for decision unless otherwise provided by law or the Court,” the SCPIO said.

The SCPIO said the Office of the Court Administrator released the guidelines last Jan. 19 following approval made by Peralta.

The guidelines were issued following the designation of 11 special regional trial courts (RTCs) which will hear, try, and decide expropriation cases involving national government infrastructure projects.

These 11 RTCs are located in the cities of Imus, Trece Martires, Dasmarinas, Tagaytay, Caloocan and Manila.

The SC appointed the RTCs and issued the guidelines in response to the request of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Mark Villar who sought assistance for the DPWH’s ongoing big-ticket projects.

“The DPWH is expected to file an estimated 902 expropriation cases before the RTCs in relation to these projects,” the SCPIO said.