BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129
August 14, 1981
BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129
AN ACT REORGANIZING THE JUDICIARY, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
SECTION 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980."
SECTION 2. Scope. — The reorganization herein provided shall include the Court of Appeals, the Court of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts. cdasia
The Intermediate Appellate Court
SECTION 3. Organization. — There is hereby created an Intermediate Appellate Court which shall consist of a Presiding Appellate Justice and forty-nine Associate Appellate Justices who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines. The Presiding Appellate Justice shall be so designated in his appointment, and the Associate Appellate Justices shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective appointments, or when the appointments of two or more of them shall bear the same date, according to the order in which their appointments were issued by the President. Any member who is reappointed to the Court after rendering service in any other position in the government shall retain the precedence to which he was entitled under his original appointment, and his service in the Court shall, to all intents and purposes, be considered as continuous and uninterrupted.
SECTION 4. Exercise of Powers and Functions. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall exercise its powers, functions, and duties, through ten (10) divisions, each composed of five members. The court may sit en banc only for the purpose of exercising administrative, ceremonial, or other non-adjudicatory functions.
SECTION 5. Succession to Office of Presiding Appellate Justice. — In case of a vacancy in the Office of the Presiding Appellate Justice or in the event of his absence or inability to perform the powers, functions, and duties of his office, the Associate Appellate Justice who is first in precedence shall perform his powers, functions, and duties until such disability is removed, or another Presiding Appellate Justice is appointed and has qualified.
SECTION 6. Who Presides Over Sessions of a Division. — If the Presiding Appellate Justice is present in any session of a division of the Court, he shall preside. In his absence, the Associate Appellate Justice attending such session who has precedence shall preside.
SECTION 7. Qualifications. — The Presiding Appellate Justice and the Associate Appellate Justices shall have the same qualifications as those provided in the Constitution for Justices of the Supreme Court.
SECTION 8. Grouping of Divisions. — Of the ten (10) divisions of the Court, four (4) divisions, to be known as Civil Cases Divisions, shall take cognizance of appeals in civil cases originating from the Regional Trial Courts; two (2) divisions, to be known as Criminal Cases Divisions, of appeals in criminal cases originating from the Regional Trial Courts; and four (4) divisions, to be known as Special Cases Divisions, of original actions or petitions, petitions for review, and appeals in all other cases, including those from administrative agencies, except as provided in Section 9 hereof.
Except with respect to the Presiding Appellate Justice, the appointment of a member of the Court shall specifically indicate whether it is for the Civil Cases Divisions, the Criminal Cases Divisions, or the Special Cases Divisions of the Court. No member of the Court appointed to any of the three classes of divisions shall be assigned to any of the other classes of divisions, except when authorized by the Supreme Court, upon recommendation of the Intermediate Appellate Court en banc, if the exigencies of the service so require, but such transfer shall in no case be for more than six (6) months: Provided, however, That this prohibition shall not apply if the transfer occurs by reason of a permanent vacancy in the chairmanship of any division, in which case the Associate Appellate Justice who is next in precedence shall assume the chairmanship. casia
There shall be no seniority or precedence in rank among the divisions of the Court.
SECTION 9. Jurisdiction. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall exercise:
The Intermediate Appellate Court shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings.
These provisions shall not apply to decisions and interlocutory orders issued under the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals.
SECTION 10. Place of Holding Sessions. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall have its permanent station in the City of Manila. Whenever demanded by public interest, the Supreme Court, upon its own initiative or upon recommendation of the Presiding Appellate Justice, may authorize a division of the Court to hold sessions outside Manila, periodically, or for such periods and at such places as the Supreme Court may determine, for the purpose of hearing and deciding cases.
SECTION 11. Quorum. — A majority of the actual members of the Court shall constitute a quorum for its session en banc. Three members shall constitute a quorum for the sessions of a division. The affirmative votes of the majority of the members present shall be necessary to pass a resolution of the Court en banc. The affirmative votes of three members of a division shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a decision, or final resolution, which shall be reached in consultation before the writing of the opinion by any member of the division.
A motion for reconsideration of its decision or final resolution shall be resolved by the Court within ninety (90) days from the time it is submitted for resolution, and no second motion for reconsideration shall be entertained, unless the action upon the first motion for reconsideration shall have resulted in a reversal or substantial modification of the original decision or final resolution. The second motion for reconsideration shall be resolved by the Court within forty-five (45) days from the time it is submitted for resolution. asia dc
SECTION 12. Internal Rules. — The Court en banc is authorized to promulgate rules or orders governing the constitution of the divisions and the assignment of Appellate Justices thereto, the distribution of cases, and other matters pertaining to the operations of the Court or its divisions. Copies of such rules and orders shall be furnished the Supreme Court, which rules and orders shall be effective fifteen (15) days after receipt thereof, unless directed otherwise by the Supreme Court.
Regional Trial Courts
SECTION 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. — There are hereby created thirteen (13) Regional Trial Courts, one for each of the following judicial regions:
In case of transfer or redistribution of the provinces, sub-provinces, cities or municipalities comprising the regions established by law for purposes of the administrative field organization of the various departments and agencies of the government, the composition of the judicial regions herein constituted shall be deemed modified accordingly.
SECTION 14. Regional Trial Courts. —
SECTION 15. Qualifications. — No person shall be appointed Regional Trial Judge unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least thirty-five years of age, and, for at least ten years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite.
SECTION 16. Time and Duration of Sessions. — The time and duration of daily sessions of the Regional Trial Courts shall be determined by the Supreme Court: Provided, however, That all motions, except those requiring immediate action, shall be heard in the afternoon of every Friday, unless it falls on a holiday, in which case, the hearing shall be held on the afternoon of the next succeeding business day: Provided, further, That the Supreme Court may, for good reasons, fix a different motion day in specified areas.
SECTION 17. Appointment and Assignment of Regional Trial Judges. — Every Regional Trial Judge shall be appointed to a region which shall be his permanent station, and his appointment shall state the branch of the court and the seat thereof to which he shall be originally assigned. However, the Supreme Court may assign temporarily a Regional Trial Judge to another region as public interest may require, provided that such temporary assignment shall not last longer than six (6) months without the consent of the Regional Trial Judge concerned. cdasia
A Regional Trial Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch or city or municipality within the same region as public interest may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station within the meaning of this section.
SECTION 18. Authority to Define Territory Appurtenant to Each Branch. — The Supreme Court shall define the territory over which a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial area of the branch concerned for purposes of determining the venue of all suits, proceedings or actions, whether civil or criminal, as well as determining the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts over which the said branch may exercise appellate jurisdiction. The power herein granted shall be exercised with a view to making the courts readily accessible to the people of the different parts of the region and making the attendance of litigants and witnesses as inexpensive as possible.
SECTION 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:
SECTION 20. Jurisdiction in Criminal Cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or body, except those now falling under the exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be exclusively taken cognizance of by the latter. cdt
SECTION 21. Original Jurisdiction in Other Cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise original jurisdiction:
(1) In the issuance of writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions; and
(2) In actions affecting ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls.
SECTION 22. Appellate Jurisdiction. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions. Such cases shall be decided on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may be submitted by the parties or required by the Regional Trial Courts. The decision of the Regional Trial Courts in such cases shall be appealable by petition for review to the Intermediate Appellate Court which may give it due course only when the petition shows prima facie that the lower court has committed an error of fact or law that will warrant a reversal or modification of the decision or judgment sought to be reviewed.
SECTION 23. Special Jurisdiction to Try Special Cases. — The Supreme Court may designate certain branches of the Regional Trial Courts to handle exclusively criminal cases, juvenile and domestic relations cases, agrarian cases, urban land reform cases which do not fall under the jurisdiction of quasi-judicial bodies and agencies, and/or such other special cases as the Supreme Court may determine in the interest of a speedy and efficient administration of justice. cd i
SECTION 24. Special Rules of Procedure. — Whenever a Regional Trial Court takes cognizance of juvenile and domestic relations cases and/or agrarian cases, the special rules of procedure applicable under present laws to such cases shall continue to be applied, unless subsequently amended by law or by rules of court promulgated by the Supreme Court.
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
SECTION 25. Establishment of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. — There shall be created a Metropolitan Trial Court in each metropolitan area established by law, a Municipal Trial Court in each of the other cities or municipalities, and a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each circuit comprising such cities and/or municipalities as are grouped together pursuant to law.
SECTION 26. Qualifications. — No person shall be appointed judge of a Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 30 years of age, and, for at least five years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines, or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite.
SECTION 27. Metropolitan Trial Courts of the National Capital Region. — There shall be a Metropolitan Trial Court in the National Capital Region, to be known as the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila, which shall be composed of eighty-two (82) branches. There shall be:
SECTION 28. Other Metropolitan Trial Courts. — The Supreme Court shall constitute Metropolitan Trial Courts in such other metropolitan areas as may be established by law whose territorial jurisdiction shall be co-extensive with the cities and municipalities comprising the metropolitan area.
Every Metropolitan Trial Judge shall be appointed to a metropolitan area which shall be his permanent station and his appointment shall state branch of the court and the seat thereof to which he shall be originally assigned. A Metropolitan Trial Judge may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch within said metropolitan area as the interest of justice may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station within the meaning of this section.
SECTION 29. Municipal Trial Courts in Cities. — In every city which does not form part of a metropolitan area, there shall be a Municipal Trial Court with one branch, except as hereunder provided: acd
SECTION 30. Municipal Trial Courts. — In each of the municipalities that are not comprised within a metropolitan area and a municipal circuit there shall be a Municipal Trial Court which shall have one branch, except as hereunder provided:
SECTION 31. Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. — There shall be a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each area defined as a municipal circuit, comprising one or more cities and/or one or more municipalities. The municipalities comprising municipal circuits as organized under Administrative Order No. 33, issued on June 13, 1978 by the Supreme Court pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 537, are hereby constituted as municipal circuits for purposes of the establishment of the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the appointments thereto of Municipal Circuit Trial Judges: Provided, however, That the Supreme Court may, as the interests of justice may require, further reorganize the said courts taking into account workload, geographical location, and such other factors as will contribute to a rational allocation thereof, pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 537 which shall be applicable insofar as they are not inconsistent with this Act. cd
Every Municipal Circuit Trial Judge shall be appointed to a municipal circuit which shall be his official station.
The Supreme Court shall determine the city or municipality where the Municipal Circuit Trial Court shall hold sessions.
SECTION 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in criminal cases. — Except in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
SECTION 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
SECTION 34. Delegated Jurisdiction in Cadastral and Land Registration Cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts may be assigned by the Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or opposition, or contested lots the value of which does not exceed twenty thousand pesos, such value to be ascertained by the affidavit of the claimant or by agreement of the respective claimants if there are more than one, or from the corresponding tax declaration of the real property. Their decisions in these cases shall be appealable in the same manner as decisions of the Regional Trial Courts.
SECTION 35. Special Jurisdiction in Certain Cases. — In the absence of all the Regional Trial Judges in a province or city, any Metropolitan Trial Judge, Municipal Trial Judge, Municipal Circuit Trial Judge may hear and decide petitions for a writ of habeas corpus or applications for bail in criminal cases in the province or city where the absent Regional Trial Judges sit. casia
SECTION 36. Summary Procedures in Special Cases. — In Metropolitan Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts with at least two branches, the Supreme Court may designate one or more branches thereof to try exclusively forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases, those involving violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations, violations of the rental law, and such other cases requiring summary disposition as the Supreme Court may determine. The Supreme Court shall adopt special rules or procedures applicable to such cases in order to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination thereof without regard to technical rules. Such simplified procedures may provide that affidavits and counter-affidavits may be admitted in lieu of oral testimony and that the periods for filing pleadings shall be non-extendible.
SECTION 37. Preliminary Investigation. — Judges of Metropolitan Trial Courts, except those in the National Capital Region, of Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall have authority to conduct preliminary investigation of crimes alleged to have been committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions which are cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts.
The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Section 1, paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d), of Presidential Decree No. 911: Provided, however, That if after the preliminary investigation the Judge finds a prima facie case, he shall forward the records of the case to the Provincial/City Fiscal for the filing of the corresponding information with the proper court.
No warrant of arrest shall be issued by the Judge in connection with any criminal complaint filed with him for preliminary investigation, unless after an examination in writing and under oath or affirmation of the complainant and his witnesses, he finds that a probable cause exists.
Any warrant of arrest issued in accordance herewith may be served anywhere in the Philippines.
SECTION 38. Judgments and Processes. — (1) All judgments determining the merits of cases shall be in writing, stating clearly the facts and the law on which they were based, signed by the Judge and filed with the Clerk of Court. Such judgment shall be appealable to the Regional Trial Courts in accordance with the procedure now prescribed by law for appeals to the Court of First Instance, by the provisions of this Act, and by such rules as the Supreme Court may hereafter prescribe. cdtai
(2) All processes issued by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, in cases falling within their jurisdiction, may be served anywhere in the Philippines without the necessity of certification by the Judge of the Regional Trial Court.
SECTION 39. Appeals. — The period for appeal from final orders, resolutions, awards, judgments, or decisions of any court in all cases shall be fifteen (15) days counted from the notice of the final order, resolution, award, judgment, or decision appealed from: Provided however, That in habeas corpus cases, the period for appeal shall be forty-eight (48) hours from the notice of the judgment appealed from.
No record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal. In lieu thereof, the entire record shall be transmitted with all the pages prominently numbered consecutively, together with an index of the contents thereof.
This section shall not apply in appeals in special proceedings and in other cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed under applicable provisions of the Rules of Court.
SECTION 40. Form of Decision in Appealed Cases. — Every decision or final resolution of a court in appealed cases shall clearly and distinctly state the findings of fact and the conclusions of law on which it is based, which may be contained in the decision or final resolution itself, or adopted by reference from those set forth in the decision, order, or resolution appealed from.
SECTION 41. Salaries. — Intermediate Appellate Justices, Regional Trial Judges, Metropolitan Trial Judges, Municipal Trial Judges, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judges shall receive such compensation and allowances as may be authorized by the President along the guidelines set forth in Letter of Implementation No. 93 pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 985, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597.
SECTION 42. Longevity Pay. — A monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay shall be paid to the Justices and Judges of the courts herein created for each five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the judiciary; Provided, That in no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after this longevity pay is added, exceed the salary of the Justice or Judge next in rank.
SECTION 43. Staffing Pattern. — The Supreme Court shall submit to the President, within thirty (30) days from the date of the effectivity of this Act, a staffing pattern for all courts constituted pursuant to this Act which shall be the basis of the implementing order to be issued by the President in accordance with the immediately succeeding section.
SECTION 44. Transitory Provisions. — The provisions of this Act shall be immediately carried out in accordance with an Executive Order to be issued by the President. The Court of Appeals, the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, the Courts of Agrarian Relations, the City Courts, the Municipal Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Courts shall continue to function as presently constituted and organized, until the completion of the reorganization provided in this Act as declared by the President. Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be deemed automatically abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office. The cases pending in the old Courts shall be transferred to the appropriate Courts constituted pursuant to this Act, together with the pertinent functions, records, equipment, property and the necessary personnel.
The applicable appropriations shall likewise be transferred to the appropriate courts constituted pursuant to this Act, to be augmented as may be necessary from the funds for organizational changes as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 80. Said funding shall thereafter be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
SECTION 45. Shari'a Courts. — Shari'a Courts to be constituted as provided for in Presidential Decree No. 1083, otherwise known as the "Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines," shall be included in the funding appropriations so provided in this Act.
SECTION 46. Gratuity of Judges and Personnel Separated from Office. — All members of the judiciary and subordinate employees who shall be separated from office by reason of the reorganization authorized herein, shall be granted a gratuity at a rate equivalent to one month's salary for every year of continuous service rendered in any branch of the government or equivalent nearest fraction thereof favorable to them on the basis of the highest salary received: Provided, That such member of the judiciary or employee shall have the option to retire under the Judiciary Retirement Law or general retirement law, if he has met or satisfied the requirements therefor.
SECTION 47. Repealing Clause. — The provisions of Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, of Republic Act No. 5179, as amended, of the Rules of Court, and of all other statutes, letters of instructions and general orders or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or accordingly modified. cdtai
SECTION 48. Date of Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect immediately.
Approved: August 14, 1981
Published in the Official Gazette, Vol. 79 No. 35 Page 4781 on August 29, 1983.