SC to resolve cases filed after April 5 within 2 years

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) – In an attempt to solve the perennial problem of slow disposition of cases, the Supreme Court (SC) will rule on petitions filed after April 5 within two years.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said this is in pursuant to Section 15(1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which states that:

"All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts."

"These extensive delays in resolving cases have always had an adverse effect on the public's perception on our courts and court processes," Gesmundo said.

That's why, he pointed out, among his short-term plans for the judiciary is the speedy resolution of cases.

Gesmundo explained that the SC recently issued a resolution approving amendments to its internal rules "meant to address the concerns of docket congestion."

These revisions include changing the total period of continuances in the deliberation of cases in the SC; prescribing a period of one month within which the members of the Court shall submit reflections, comments, or suggestions, and a period of two weeks to resolve the case; and shortening the period for distribution to other justices of the member-in-charge's report on a case prior to its scheduled agenda date to at least three working days.

These also cover imposing a limit on the administrative cases that can be elevated to the High Court's en banc:

First, only cases where the imposable penalty is suspension for more than two years, or a fine more than ₱100,000.

Second, cases involving the lifting of judges' or lawyers' suspension only to those cases where the imposed periods of suspension are more than two years.

Gesmundo said there's also an effort to hire more law clerks for justices to help wipe out aging cases - or those already beyond the 24-month Constitutional period for deciding cases.

The chief magistrate added he intends to take advantage of the "best technology available" to make case disposition faster and continuous.