THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
PER RESOLUTION OF THE SUPREME COURT
IN BAR MATTER NO. 803
ADOPTED IN BAGUIO CITY ON APRIL 8, 1997
The lectures of
HILDEGARGO F. IÑIGO
Dean, Ateneo de Davao University College of Law
Founding Partner, Garcia, Iñigo, Sarsaba, Heje and Associates Pre-Bar Reviewer, Ateneo Law Review Center
8th Placer, 1966 Bar Examination
(Rules 39-56, Summary Procedure)
The first thing that we will take up in Civil Procedure are basic concepts. We are going to discuss the legal concept of courts. As you will know, whenever we talk of procedural law, we have no choice but to involve courts in our discussion.
Let’s try to have a mental picture of courts. If I (Dean Iñigo) say ‘courts’, please tell me the scene that comes into your mind. What do you see? There is a table, a gavel, there is someone sitting there. Then below, there are lawyers sitting down. That is how everybody pictures a court. But actually, what was pictured out was a courtroom and not a court.
Similar example: How can you picture a corporation? A corporation, as you know in Persons, is a juridical entity. It is a creature of the law. It is a person under the law but it has no physical existence. But what you see in a corporation is a building and people who are running the office business. Well, that is the office of the corporation.
A corporation cannot run without people running it. But a corporation can own properties, kaya you see the building, the office, the equipments there. The president or the vice-president are the officers of the corporation. But the officers are not the corporation, they run the affairs of the corporation. Ganoon din ang court. A court has no physical existence, only a legal one.
Q: What is a court?
A: A court is an entity or body vested with a portion of the judicial power. (Lontok vs. Battung, 63 Phil. 1054)
Q: Why ‘portion’ only?
A: This is because the Constitution provides that “the judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court (SC) and in such other lower courts as may be established by law.” (Art. VIII, Section 1, 1987 Constitution.
The reason that the law creates different courts is to divide the cases or judicial power among them so that one court may not be burdened with so many cases. So, judicial power is not exercised only by one court, but by several courts. It is like a cake. You slice the cake into parts – this part is for you, this part is mine. So, kanya-kanya tayo ng trabaho. You cannot put the burden only in one court.
For example, you want to sue your debtor for not paying a loan. You mean to tell me that you will go to the SC? All cases in the Philippines will have to filed there? NO. You cannot do it. You have to start from certain courts in you city or municipality.
Ngayon, pag-sinabi mo kung saan ako mag-file, sa Regional Trial Court (RTC) ba? O sa Municipal Trial Court (MTC)? Of course, depende yan on how much you are claiming. If you are claiming so much, dito ka. If you claim is lower, dito ka naman. Why is that? Because each has its own work. Each one has its own portion – what is yours is yours, what is mine is mine.
Thus, each court has its own jurisdiction and may only try cases within its jurisdiction. No court has all the power of the judiciary but only a portion of it. So there is a division of labor.
Just as corporations cannot act without its officers, a court cannot function without a judge. But do not say that the court and the judge mean the same thing. The judge is the person or officer who presides over a court.
Q: Distinguish court from judge.
A: The following are the distinctions:
Court is the entity, body, or tribunal vested with a portion of the judicial power, while judge is the person or officer who presides over a court. Judges are human beings – they die, they resign, they retire, they maybe removed. The court continues to...
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