SC warns commercial court judges against delay in resolution of cases

Published July 28, 2021, 9:59 AM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court (SC)

The Supreme Court (SC) has warned commercial court judges against what Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III lamented as “questionable trend of unwarranted delay or circumvention of court proceedings” in the handling of commercial cases.

A total of 147 regional trial courts (RTCs) in the country has been designated by the SC as special commercial courts to handle exclusively cases like rehabilitation, insolvency and liquidation filed by firms and individuals.

Under Section 72 of Republic Act No. 10142, the law on the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals, designated commercial court judges have one year to act on the cases brought before them.

In a circular issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, judges of commercial courts are “strongly reminded” to comply strictly with the provision of RA 10142 since a violation “constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions against the erring magistrate.”

Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez

The SC, through Marquez whose office supervises all lower courts, acted on Dominguez’s letter sent to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).

Dominguez urged OCA to “ensure that courts comply with their mandate” considering “the delay in the resolution of various commercial cases….”

In his letter, Dominguez cited the case of Land Bank of the Philippines, “a creditor party in numerous rehabilitation and insolvency proceedings where there appears to be a questionable trend of unwarranted delay and/or circumvention of court proceedings.”

He also said that “some case proceedings may have been deliberately delayed” and “have remained pending for more than one year without any approved rehabilitation plans.”

In his circular, Court Administrator Marquez cited an SC ruling that directed all judges to “remain in full control of the proceedings in their sala and should adopt a firm policy against improvident postponements and should follow the time limit set for deciding cases.”

Since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the SC has directed all courts to utilize video conferencing in hearings and deciding cases.

The SC has also allowed the online filing of pleadings and other documents required by the courts.