The extended jurisdiction of the courts of first instance seems to ease the files of the regional courts

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of a law that expands the jurisdiction of trial courts and appears to unclog cases in regional trial courts.

Duterte signed on July 30 the Law of the Republic 11576 which amended the “Judicial Reorganization Law of 1980” and extended the jurisdiction of the metropolitan courts of first instance (MeTC), municipal courts of first instance in cities ( MTCC), municipal courts of first instance (MTC) and municipal courts of first instance. (MCTC).

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the new law adjusts the jurisdictional amounts of first instance courts “to levels more suited to the country’s current economic conditions and real estate valuation”.

“This law will undoubtedly help to unclog the files of our second level courts, which in turn would lead to faster adjudication of cases and better administration of justice,” he added in a statement. .

The Philippine Integrated Bar echoed Gesmundo’s remarks and said the new law “is intended to unclog the roles” of first and second level courts.

MeTC, MTCC, MTC and MCTC are first level courts, while regional first instance courts are second level courts.

Modifications

RA 11576 modifies part of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 and increases “the jurisdictional amount knowable by the [RTCs] in all civil actions which involve title to or possession of real estate, or any interest therein, of the foregoing amount of P20,000 (P50,000 in Metro Manila) to P400,000, except in cases of forced entry and illegal detention of land and buildings, the original jurisdiction of which rests with the first-level courts, ”explained the SC Public Information.

By law, BTIs will also exercise original jurisdiction over actions and maritime jurisdiction when the claim or claim exceeds P 2 million, previously P 100,000, and in Metro Manila, P 200,000.

The BTI are also competent for all matters of inheritance and probate when the gross value of the estate is greater than 2 million pesos, compared to the previous threshold of 100,000 pesos and 200,000 pesos for Metro Manila.

The SC PIO also noted that RA 11576 increases the jurisdiction of the BTI in “all other cases in which the claim, excluding interest, for damages of any kind, attorney’s fees, litigation fees and costs or the value of the disputed property exceeds P2 million from the previous amount of 100,000 pesos.

Gesmundo also thanked his predecessors, retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin “who first broached the idea with lawmakers to change the law on the jurisdiction of our first instance courts”, and the Chief Justice at the retirement Diosdado Peralta who “pushed for the approval of the bill in Congress. “

A copy of the signed law was posted on the Official Journal’s website on August 4 and will come into force 15 days later, on August 20, the IBP said. The law is forward-looking, which means that it will only cover cases brought before the first and second level courts after it comes into force. – Kristine Joy Patag

Elna M. Lemons