MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a law expanding the jurisdiction of metropolitan and municipal trial courts, according to a copy of the measure that Malacañang released on Wednesday.
Duterte on July 30 signed Republic Act 11576, which amended the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 to include the following, among others.
Metropolitan Trial Courts, and Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court shall exercise:
- Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed P2 million
- Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or any interest therein does no exceed P400,000
- Exclusive original jurisdiction in admiralty and maritime actions where the demand or claim does not exceed P2 million
Sen. Lito Lapid had sought wider jurisdiction for first level courts to lessen cases filed with Regional Trial Courts, which he said were swamped with “nearly all civil cases” involving real property.
“The adverse effects on our justice system are quite obvious. Trial or hearing dates become far apart and less frequent because judges are faced with an unworkable docket,” he said in a Senate bill.
“Plaintiffs and respondents alike who live in municipalities where no RTCs are stationed are forced to litigate their claims in distant areas. Cases for resolution linger in the courts for longer periods of time because judges are forced to ask for continuance.”
With the adjustments in the first level courts’ jurisdiction, he said, “more cases can now be covered by simpler and quicker procedures such as the Revised Rules on Small Claims and Cases and the Revised Rules on summary procedure.”