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LEGAL COUNSELING

ATTY. DAVID L. BALLESTEROS


FRIDAY 7:30- 9:30 PM

GROUP 7
Janusz Paolo G. Larin
Sam Jade M. Gadiane
Ninna Beatrice S. Flores
Celine Jeanne A. Siquian
Ginievive A. Bengdaen

HIERARCHY IN PHILIPPINE COURTS

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF COURTS


 The Supreme Court is the creation of the Constitution, hence, it is referred to as the
constitutional court and highest court of the land.
 All other courts are known as statutory courts.

SUPREME COURT (SC)


 Sec, 5 (1), Art. VIII of the Constitution states that the SC is the last arbiter of all
questions of law.
 Composed of the Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices, and sit en banc or,
in its discretion, in divisions of three, five or seven members.
 A decision or resolution of the SC needs the concurrence by a majority of the
members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case
voted thereon, and in no case without concurrence of the least three of such
members.
 When required no. Is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc.
 Participation of a Justice of the SC may be disqualified for the reasons stated in
Sec.1, Rule 137 of the Rule of Court.
 When a Justice’s participation is challenged, the Justice sits with the SC and the
question is decided by the SC as a body. If ground of disqualification is
mandatory the Justice concerned should inhibit.
 But where the Motion for disqualification is presented after decision has been
rendered either en banc or in division with the Justice concerned, the motion
should be denied because no litigant should be permitted to speculate upon the
action of the SC and to raise an objection of this sort a.fter the decision has been
rendered.
 No doctrine or principle of law laid down by the SC in a decision rendered en
banc or in a division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en
banc.
 Ponente- member of the SC who wrote the decision.
 Sec. 30, Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution state that “no law increasing the
appellate jurisdiction of the SC can be passed without its advice and consent”.

COURT OF APPEALS (CA)


 It is composed of a Presiding Justice and sixty-eight (68) Associate Justices, and
discharges its functions, powers and duties thru twenty-three (23) divisions of three (3)
members each.
 The Court may sit en banc for the purpose of exercising administrative, ceremonial, or
other non-adjudicatory functions.
 The CA shall have its permanent stations: the first seventeen (17) divisions shall be
stationed in the City of Manila for cases coming from the First to the Fifth Judicial
regions; the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth divisions shall be stationed in Cebu
City for cases coming from the sixth, seventh and eight judicial regions; the twenty-first,
twenty-second and twenty-third divisions shall be stationed in Cagayan de Oro City for
cases coming from the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth judicial regions.
 Majority of the members constitute a quorum for its session en banc. Three members
shall constitute a quorum for the sessions of a division.
 A unanimous vote of the three members of a division shall be necessary for the
pronouncement of a decision or final resolution. In the event that the three members do
not reach a unanimous vote, the Presiding Justice shall request the Raffle Committee of
the Court for the designation of two additional Justices to sit temporarily with them.
 Trials and hearings in the CA must be continuous and must be completed within three (3)
months unless extended by the Chief Justice of the SC.
 The CA has both original and appellate jurisdiction as follows:
1.) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari,
Habeas Corpus and Quo Warranto, and auxiliary writs or processes whether or
not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.

2.) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for the annulment of judgments of
the Regional Trial Courts.

3.) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions,


resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies,
instrumentalities, boards, or commissions, including the SEC, SSS, ECC, and the
CSC.

4.) Power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any
and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues in cases falling within its original
and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct new trials or
further proceedings.

SANDIGANBAYAN
 Created as a special court by PD 1606 which took effect on Dec. 10, 1978.
 It is to try and decide criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and
such other offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those in
government-owned and controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be
determined by law.
 Sandiganbayan shall sit in divisions of three Justices each. The divisions may sit at the
same time.
 Decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan are appealable to the SC by petition for
review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the ROC.
 Its jurisdiction are as follows:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII,
Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials
occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or
interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:

"(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director
and higher, otherwise classified as Grade ’27’ and higher, of the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically
including:

"(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang


panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other
provincial department heads:

"(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod,


city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;

"(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul


and higher;

"(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers
of higher rank;

"(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the


position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior
superintendent and higher;

"(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and
prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
"(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or
controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or
foundations.

"(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade ’27’ and
higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
"(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution;
"(4) Chairmen and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without
prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
"(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade ’27’ and higher
under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.

"b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed
by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a. of this section in
relation to their office.

"c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order
Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.

"Provided, That the Regional Trial Court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the
information: (a) does not allege any damage to the government or any bribery; or (b) alleges
damage to the government or bribery arising from the same or closely related transactions or acts
in an amount not exceeding One million pesos (P1,000,000.00).

"Subject to the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court, the cases falling under the jurisdiction
of the Regional Trial Court under this section shall be tried in a judicial region other than where
the official holds office.

"In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade ’27’
or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers
mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional
trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the
case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
as amended.

"The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments,
resolutions or orders of regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original
jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided.

"The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of
the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary
writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature,
including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under
Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the jurisdiction over
these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.

"The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that
the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions
for review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the
Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the
Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the
People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-
A, issued in 1986.

"In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the
public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled
corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper
courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (RTC)

 Each branch of the RTC within the region is presided by a single Judge, whether in a
multiple sala court or single sala court.
 In multiple sala courts, there is an Executive Judge who is designated by the SC for a
period of two (2) years unless re-appointed.
 In single sala courts, the Presiding Judge of the particular branch acts as an Executive
Judge exercising administrative functions over the MTC’s.
 Jurisdiction of the RTC are as follows:

Jurisdiction in civil cases. – Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original
jurisdiction.

"(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary
estimation;

"(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any
interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty
thousand pesos (P20,000,00) or, for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such value
exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and
unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon
the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts;

"(3) In all actions in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction where the demand or claim
exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila, where such
demand or claim exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);

"(4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of the
estate exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in probate matters in Metro
Manila, where such gross value exceeds Two Hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);

"(5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations;

"(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or
body exercising jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or
quasi-judicial functions;

"(7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and of the Court of Agrarian
Relations as now provided by law; and

"(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever
kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in
controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases
in Metro Manila, where the demand exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds Two
Hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00)."

JURISDICTION OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS IN CRIMINAL CASES

1. Exclusive original jurisdiction in criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of
any court, tribunal or body, except those falling under the exclusive and concurrent
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
All criminal cases where the penalty is higher than 6 years, including government-related
cases wherein the accused in not one of those falling under the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan is within the jurisdiction of the RTC.
2. Other laws which specifically lodge jurisdiction in the RTC
a. Laws on written defamation or libel
b. Decree on Intellectual Property
c. Dangerous Drugs Cases except where the offenders are below 16 years and there are
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts in the province
3. Appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by MTCs in their respective territorial jurisdiction
4. In areas where there are no family courts, the cases falling under the jurisdiction of family
courts shall be adjudicated by the RTC.

EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL
i. All criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or body
EXCLUSIVE APPELLATE
ii. All cases decided by lower courts in their respective territorial jurisdictions

METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND MUNICIPAL


CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS (MTCC, MTC, MCTC)

 Jurisdiction of the MTC, MTCC and MCTC are as follows:

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:

"(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal


ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdiction; and

"(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with


imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and
regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil
liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind,
nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving
damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive
original jurisdiction thereof."

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:

"(1) 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 the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does
not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where
such personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed Two
hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00), exclusive of interest, damages of
whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which
must be specifically alleged: Provided, That interest, damages of whatever kind,
attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs shall be included in the
determination of the filing fees: Provided, further, That where there are several
claims or causes of actions between the same or different parties, embodied in the
same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all
the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the
same or different transactions;
"(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful
detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the questions of
ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved
without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved
only to determine the issue of possession; and

"(3) 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 interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos
(P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does
not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of
whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided, That in
cases of land not declared for taxation purposes, the value of such property shall
be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots."

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 where the value of which
does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00), 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."

FAMILY COURT

 Created by R.A. No. 8369, otherwise known as the Family Courts Act of 1997,entitled “
AN ACT ESTABLISHING FAMILY COURTS, GRANTING THEM EXCLUSIVE
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OVER CHILD AND FAMILY CASES, AMENDING
BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129”.
 Jurusdiction of a family court are as follows:

a) Criminal cases where one or more of the accused is below eighteen (18) years of age
but not less than nine (9) years of age but not less than nine (9) years of age or where one
or more of the victims is a minor at the time of the commission of the offense: Provided,
That if the minor is found guilty, the court shall promulgate sentence and ascertain any
civil liability which the accused may have incurred.

The sentence, however, shall be suspended without need of application pursuant to


Ptesidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the "Child and Youth Welfare Code";

b) Petitions for guardianship, custody of children, habeas corpus in relation to the latter;

c) Petitions for adoption of children and the revocation thereof;

d) Complaints for annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage and those


relating to marital status and property relations of husband and wife or those living
together under different status and agreements, and petitions for dissolution of conjugal
partnership of gains;

e) Petitions for support and/or acknowledgment;

f) Summary judicial proceedings brought under the provisions of Executive Order No.
209, otherwise known as the "Family Code of the Philippines";

g) Petitions for declaration of status of children as abandoned, dependent o neglected


children, petitions for voluntary or involuntary commitment of children; the suspension,
termination, or restoration of parental authority and other cases cognizable under
Presidential Decree No. 603, Executive Order No. 56, (Series of 1986), and other related
laws;

h) Petitions for the constitution of the family home;

i) Cases against minors cognizable under the Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended;

j) Violations of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of
Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act," as amended by
Republic Act No. 7658; and

k) Cases of domestic violence against:

1) Women - which are acts of gender based violence that results, or are likely to result in
physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women; and other forms of
physical abuse such as battering or threats and coercion which violate a woman's
personhood, integrity and freedom movement; and

2) Children - which include the commission of all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty,
exploitation, violence, and discrimination and all other conditions prejudicial to their
development.

If an act constitutes a criminal offense, the accused or batterer shall be subject to criminal
proceedings and the corresponding penalties.

If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in any case
pending in the regular courts, said incident shall be determined in that court.

SHARI’A COURT

 There are two categories of Shari’a Courts under the Code of Muslim Personal
Laws of the Philippines, the Shari’a District Courts which are in the same level as
the RTC and the Shari’a Circuit Courts which are in the same level as the MTC.
 Jurisdiction are as follows:

Equivalent to the Regional Trial Courts in rank are the Shari'a District Courts
which were established in certain specified provinces in Mindanao where
the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines is being enforced.

There are five Shari'a District Courts and fifty one Shari'a Circuit Courts in
existence.

A Shari'a District Court is of limited jurisdiction. It was created


under Presidential Decree No. 1083. Cases falling within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Shari'a District Courts primarily pertain to family rights and
duties as well as contractual relations of Filipino Muslims in the Mindanao.

It has exclusive original jurisdiction over the following:

1. All cases involving custody, guardianship, legitimacy, paternity and filiation


arising under Presidential Decree No. 1083;

2. All cases involving disposition, distribution and settlement of the estate of a


deceased Muslim, probate of wills, issuance of letters of administration or
appointment of administrators or executors regardless of the nature or the
aggregate value of the property;

3. Petitions for declaration of absence and death and for cancellation and
correction of entries in the Muslim Registries mentioned in Title VI, Book Two of
Presidential Decree No. 1083;
4. All actions arising from customary contracts in which the parties are Muslims,
if they have not specified which law shall govern their relations;

5. All petitions for mandamus, prohibition, injunction, certiorari, habeas corpus,


and all auxiliary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction;

It has concurrent original jurisdiction over the following:

1. Petitions by Muslims for the constitution of the family home, change of name
and commitment of insane person to any asylum;

2. All other personal and real actions not mentioned in paragraph 1(d) wherein
the parties involved are Muslims except those for forcible entry and unlawful
detainer which shall fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal
Circuit Courts; and

3. All special civil actions for interpleader or declaratory relief where the parties
are Muslims or the property involved belongs exclusively to a Muslim.

The Shari'a District Court has appellate jurisdiction over all cases tried in the
Shari'a Circuit Courts within their territorial jurisdiction.

It shall decide every case on the basis of the evidence and the records transmitted
as well as such memoranda, briefs or oral arguments as the parties may submit.

The decisions of the Shari'a District Courts, whether on appeal from the Shari'a
Circuit Courts or not, shall be final. The Supreme Court shall, however, continue
to exercise original and appellate jurisdiction over certain issues as provided by
the Constitution.