LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth. You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine…” (Amos 5:10-11, the Holy Bible).
250,000 OR MORE ILLEGAL DRUGS CASES NOW PENDING WITH RTCs: Documents reaching the Suprmee Court show that around 250,000 cases involving illegal drugs are now being tried and litigated in the nearly 1,100 Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) in the country today, according to Supreme Court Deputy Court Administrator Raul Bautista Villanueva last April 01, 2019.
In a lecture he delivered for about three hours at the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education seminar on the current status of the country’s courts at the UP Law Center in Diliman, Quezon City, Villanueva (who was himself a Regional Trial Court judge in Las Pinas City before he went to the Supreme Court) disclosed that some 640,000 cases are pending trial before the RTCs across the country.
About 80% of this number, or about 510,000, are criminal cases, and more than half of these criminal cases, or about 250,000, are illegal drugs cases. Villanueva said the present work load of RTC judges are truly terrible and too taxing, although on account of various issuances by the Supreme Court, some 70,000 of these cases have been resolved asof 2018.
POSPONEMENTS CAUSE OF DELAY IN COURT CASES: On the other hand, for the cases that are being tried by the so-called “first level courst” of the country (or the Metropolitan Trial Courts, MeTCs; Municipal Trial Courts, MTCs; Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, MTCCs; and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTCs), the Supreme Court has recorded some 146,000 cases being tried by them.
As per the lecture of Supreme Court Deputy Court Administrator Raul Bautista Villanueva before lawyers attending their Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Seminar in UP Diliman, Quezon City last Monday, April 01, 2019, it was clarified that by virtue of rules and guidelines coming from the Supreme Court, these first level courst have already disposed of some 6,000 cases last 2018.
Villanueva also explained that the most common cause of delay in the resolution of court cases or in the issuance of decisions in those cases nowadays is “postponements” of trial in the RTCs and the MTCs. For one reason or another, trials are often cancelled and reset to a longer date, but this problems is now being addressed earnestly by the Supreme Court, Villanueva said.
SC RELEASES NEW RULES FOR SPEEDIER TRIALS: Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva also discussed some of the most recent regulations issued by the Supreme Court to assure the speedier trial of all cases before the lower courts of the country. One of these regulations is the so-called “Revised Guidelines on Continuous Trial of Criminal Cases”.
There are many new “styles” of trial procedures in the Revised Guidelines that would hasten the disposition of both civil and criminal cases mentioned by Villanueva, and we will try to dwell on many of them in the succeeding issues of this column. At this point, however, I wish to pay attention to the following matters: the Revised Guidelines took effect on April 25, 2017, as A.M. No. 15-06-10-SC.
What are the cases covered by the Revised Guidelines? All criminal cases still pending of course, and the violations of the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, as well as cases involving the environment and intellectual property rights and those being tried by family and commercial courts. We will deal with all of these later, God willing.
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