CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
The 1987 Philippine Constitution1 states that only the Supreme Court is the constitutional court having been created by the constitution itself. All other courts are statutory courts in the sense that they are the creations of Law. They are referred to as lower courts in the constitution, id est, those courts below that of the Supreme Court. The regional trial Court is one of the Lower Courts in the Philippines. It is presided by 720 Regional Trial Judges in each of the thirteen (13) regions of the country, which includes Branch 17 of Tabaco City.
In administering justice, the judiciary decides controversies between the party litigants. At the same time, It is also contributes to the rule of law without which there will be chaos in the country. What is more significant; however, is that the judiciary achieves such end by relying on the moral grounds generated by the quality of its work in administering justice. The judiciary must obtain public faith and confidence, henceforth; it is necessary that court and judges should perform well and that they are capable to such faith and confidence.
To gain and maintain the trust of the people the judiciary must be honorable, competent and independent. The court plays a pivotal role in every community. It is a duty of every individual that after a crime has been committed, any formal action must be funneled through the courts. Hence, court judges’ makes judgment after the presentation of respective positions papers of the parties in an ordinary or criminal case or upon a stipulation of facts upon which the disposition of case is based.
However, large number of cases are laid on the courts today that posits the old dictum “Justice Delayed is justice denied”. One must know the fact that a long delay in the disposition of cases creates mistrust of the government itself. It also serves as a refuge of the accused if he is guilty and a continuing injustice if he is innocent. Likewise, justice is affected not simply by how the court decides the legal merits but also by how the court processes the case. Delay in the court proceedings threatens the very foundation of our criminal justice system.
There are so many consequences of court delays; first; it jeopardizes the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. All criminally accused in our society have a right not only to a fair, but to a speedy trial as well. Second, it hampers the society’s need for a speedy conviction as the case becomes older the memories of the witness diminished, the chance for an acquittal arises. Third, delay erodes public confidence in the judicial process. Fourth, it strains criminal justice system resources. Pre-trial detainees dog jail facilities.
Police Officers must appear in court on numerous occasions at public expense. Case law or judicial decisions are official interpretation of law made by persons and agencies of the government performing judicial and quasi – judicial functions. Decisions of the Supreme Court bind the lower courts and are a source of law. Section 1 Article VIII of the Constitution vests the judicial power “in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. ” 2 These lower courts established by law are the courts of first instance in any civil or criminal proceedings between or among disputants.
With the bulk of cases handled by each trial court, the length of time needed to decide cases in the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts considerably vary. But with only 1,682 justices and judges in 2,153 courts in the country, the waiting time is expected to be long. Based on 2006 statistics, on the national scale, the total case load of the Judiciary is 745,360, with the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) handling 360, 402 cases, while the Municipal Trial Courts (MTC) 362,000.
In 2004, each Regional Trial Court in the country on the average handles 464 cases while each first – leval courts (MTC or MCTC) handles an average of 695 cases. There are even a few courts that have as much as 6,000 cases pending before them. 3 This study was conducted to assess the performance of the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 in Tabaco City, on disposing criminal cases. By identifying the problems met by the court in handling cases, this would somehow enable the judge and the court staff to make judgment within the time frame and to make fast disposition on filed cases.
Further, this study presented some implemented programs to solve numerous court problems that were major contributors on the delay on court proceedings. RTC Branch 17 was selected as the locale of this study for the reason that it is one of the Regional Trial Courts experiencing the occurrence of voluminous cases filed that have to be handled by a single judge. Furthermore, it is the desire of the study to provide a catalyst for further improvement of the said trial court in order that its service to its clientele be more efficient and effective.
Statement of the Problem This study was conducted to assess the performance of the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 in Tabaco City, on disposing criminal cases. The problems met by the court in handling cases and recommendations to solve these problems were likewise included. Specifically, this study sought answers to the following sub problems:
1. How many criminal cases were filed in 1997 – 2001?
2. What is the status of the cases in terms of: a. decided cases b. transferred / archived cases c. pending cases d. disposed cases within and beyond the time frame ?
3. What are the problems encountered by the RTC Branch 17 in Tabaco in the disposition of the criminal cases?
4. What are the programs implemented to address these problems?
Assumptions of the Study
1. That there are Criminal cases that are tried and decided within the time frame
2. The status of the cases varies in terms of decided cases, transferred, archived, pending and disposed cases.
3. There are problems encountered in the disposition of cases.
4. There are programs implemented to address the problem on the delay of the disposition cases. Scope and Delimitation
This study is focused on the assessment of the performance of the Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court in Tabaco City in the disposition of criminal cases. The performance assessment was premised on the cases filed from January 1997 to December 2001. The employees as well as the presiding judge of RTC Branch 17 were the respondents of this study since; they are the personalities who have the necessary knowledge about the issue at hand. This study further includes investigation on the problems encountered in the disposition of cases, as well as, programs implemented to solve these problems.
Other issues other than mentioned are no longer within the scope of this study and leaves a room for other studies in the same vein. Significance of the Study Findings of this study are deemed vital to further improve the disposition of cases of RTC Branch 17 in Tabaco City. This study can be used to reexamine their disposition processes, and the problems identified can be used to reflect on the service rendered in deciding cases in order for them to work for a practical solution in order to improve their service in the disposition of cases. Moreover, it is also deemed significant to the following:
Judges, Lawyers and the entire Judicial System. This study can serve as feedback on their performance. It can be a basis for determining whether or not they had done their work well. Knowing so, it would provide them information on how to improve their performance. Legislators. Through this study, the legislators would be enlightened with the problems that arises in the lower courts, and being the authority in determining the creation and/or dissolution of lower courts, they can make use of this study as a guide in providing appropriate remedies to those problems.
This would also serve as the basis for future plans and proper supervision so that the level of performance of all the RTC in the country will be improved. Clientele. This study can give thorough information on the process being laid on court. It would give a better understanding on what’s going on in the court and why there are delays in rendering judgment to a particular case. The General Public. The findings of this study can give information on the process being laid on court. It would give a better description on what’s going on in the court and what are the processes in rendering judgment to a particular case.
Political Science Students. The findings of this study would provide them with insights on the operation of trial courts in the local level. Those who are planning to pursue college of law would be provided with insights on the operation of courts. Knowing so, they will be motivated to study better and find ways in improving the performance of the Regional Trial court in the Philippines. Future Researchers. The output of this study could be a source of information for future researchers. Findings of the study will be a relative material for future investigations.
Notes 1 De Leon, Hector S. , Textbook on the Philippine Constitution”, 1997 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. , 2005, p. 230. 2 http://www. manilacityph. com/supremecourt. htm 3 http://www. haribon. org. ph
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
This chapter presents related literature and studies that have bearing to the present study. This also includes the synthesis of the state of the art, gap bridged by the study, the theoretical and conceptual framework of the study, and the definition of terms. Related Literature
Reviewed related literature presented facts on the disposition of cases in the Regional Trial Court. These give all the reliable data regarding the expeditious disposition of cases. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of excess jurisdiction of the part of any branch or instrumentality of government1. It is the prime duty of the court to weigh evidences and to impose its judicial power unto it.
Basically, it is not only the right of the victim that was considered in every trial but the right of the accused as well. It is after the presentation of both parties that a disposition of case was based. According to Chancellor James Kent cited in De Leon2, where there is no judicial department to interpret and execute the law, to decide controversies, and to enforce rights, the government must either perish by its own or the other departments of government must usurp powers for the purpose of commanding, obedience, to the destruction of liberty.
In the language of Lord Bryce; nothing more clearly touches the welfare and security of the average citizen than his sense that can rely on the certain and prompt administration of justice3. Indeed, in order to earn people’s respect and trust, the court must do its part properly. It must make it a point that the people’s welfare is safe with them and that they can depend on the court whenever problem arises. On the other hand the observance of the right to a speedy disposition of cases enhances the people’s respect for the law and faith in their government.
The right to a speedy disposition of cases can be invoked only after determination of the trial or hearing of case4. According to Justice Arthur Vanderbit, It is in the court not in the legislature that our citizens primarily feel the keen cutting edge of the law. If they have respect for the work of the court, their respect for law will survive the shortcomings of any other branch of the government but if they lose their respect for the works of the court, their respect for law and order will banished with it to the great detriment of society5.
According to the document on compiled cases of Professor Erickson H. Balmes6, delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of the public in the institution of justice, lowers its standards and brings them into disrepute. It is for the reason that every judge must cultivate a capacity for quick decision; he must not delay the judgment which a party justly deserves. The public trust reposed in a judge’s office imposes upon him the highest degree of responsibility to promptly administer justice. Accordingly, David W.
Nebauer said that in a democracy, a government is expected to be responsive to the wishes and demands of its citizens, the satisfaction or dissatisfaction citizens find as a consumer of court services plays on important role in shaping their views and attitude towards the government in general and in legal system in particular. Former chief executive Marcelo B. Fernan7 said that impartial, efficient and speedy justice for our people must come ultimately. Even before, the basic or fundamental concern of the Department of Justice is to give impartial, efficient and speedy justice for the people.
The only problem why they cannot have a speedy impartial and efficient administration of justice is the unnecessary delay on the judicial process, which ails the judiciary. The Judiciary Department of China has three levels the first is the district courts and their branches that hear civil and criminal cases in the first instance. Second is the high court and their branches at the intermediate level that hear appeals against judgment of district courts or their branches. Last is the Supreme Court at the highest appellate level, which reviews judgments by lower courts for compliance with pertinent laws or regulations.
On the confessions and criminal case disposition in China, It describes how wider economic reforms in China and subsequent changes in its legal system may have affected the nature and consequence of criminal confessions. Bivariate and multivariate analysis of a sample of 1,009 criminal court cases reveal that the majority of the offenders confessed to their crime that the confession is associated with less severe punishment (e. g. , lower risk for imprisonment, shorter sentences). Changes in the nature of confession and its impact to criminal court practices are also examined before and after legal reforms in the mid 1990’s.
This context – specific are then discussed in terms of their implication for understanding the interrelationships between legal structure, legal culture, and case disposition in communitarian – based. 8 According to Judge Sumiko Ikemoto of Japan, on the international child custody jurisdiction: In recent years the Family Court in Japan has experienced an increase in cases on court hearings or Conciliation (Mediation) by foreigners or similar cases having to do with foreign laws that concerns child custody designation or changes, designations of custodianship and negotiations concerning visitation.
Furthermore, since these cases are special having to do with personal and family matters, there must be a limit against mutual consent jurisdiction or general appearance in order to eliminate arbitrary forum shopping. The Family Court and the District Court have two methods in deciding the jurisdiction of international disputes. 9 In terms of the Judiciary Department of Taiwan, the Judicial Yuan is the highest judicial organization in Taiwan.
It is comprised up of: the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Districts Courts, the Supreme Administrative Court, the High Administrative Courts and the Judiciary Exercises Administrative Supervision of the Republic of China court system. High Court is located in Taipei serving all of Taiwan and Penghu. It is divided into civil and criminal, as well as specialized divisions dealing with juvenile, traffic and labor cases. Each District Court is divided into civil, criminal and summary divisions.
The summary divisions in the Taiwan area to adjudicate cases in a prompt and expeditious manner, summary proceedings are conducted by a single judge. Lower courts in the United States are generally responsive to specific precedents and trends in the decision making of their judicial superiors. According to one article, the compliance can be attributed to judge’s fear of having their decisions reversed. Through an analysis of search and seizure cases decided in the U. S. Courts of Appeals between 1961 and 1990.
Since its Supreme Court cannot reverse a decision unless it agrees to review it, if ask whether circuit judges are more likely to decide as the Supreme Court would be expected to when they face cases that are otherwise more likely to be reviewed by the Court. The said article found out that they are not, it was then concluded that fear on reversal cannot account widespread circuit court compliance in these case, nor presumably, more generally. More broadly, this findings point to the importance of factors apart from supervisors and the treat of sanctions in determining subordinates compliance.
In case of the judicial decision making and the use of Panels in the Canadian Supreme Court and the South African Appellate Division, research suggests that judge’s decisions are influenced by their policy preferences. Moreover, judges behave strategically to facilitate outcomes that conform as close as possible to those preferences. Canada in the post – Charter years and apartheid South Africa, chief justices in both countries do behave strategically. 10 Judicial sentencing decisions are complicated by the reality of reducing case – proceeding time and court caseload management.
Judges must hear cases and dispose of them in a timely manner so as not to increase its caseload to an unmanageable size and so they will not violate the U. S. Speedy Trial Act of 1979. According to this Act, American Courts must set the trial date within 70 days following the indictment. The American Bar Standards for disposition time for civil cases and criminal cases are 365 days and 120 days, respectively. These criteria regarding case – processing time have led to concerns about the possibility of sentencing disparity. 1 As stated on the compilation of Professor Balmes, it is the duty of the judges to promptly resolve cases for decision.
The failure of a judge to immediately resolve pending motion and to decide cases within the 90-day reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency. Delay resolves in undermining the people’s faith in the judiciary and from whom the prompt hearing of their supplications is anticipated and expected. This reinforces in the mind of the litigants the impression that the wheels of justice grind ever so slowly. 2 The slow court decision or litigation is a clear violation of the rights of the people to enjoy the benefits of the people to enjoy the benefits of receiving speedy trial. According to De Leon13 like the right to speedy trial in criminal prosecutions it is necessarily relative. It is inconsistent with reasonable delays and usually depends on the circumstances. Under the present constitution, the Supreme Court, all lower collegiate courts and all other courts are required to decide or resolve cases within a certain period of time.
With the setting of an absolute time limit in the disposition of cases, a court litigant will not have to wait indefinitely anymore for his case to be decided. In order to lessen the number of cases in a certain court the Philippines mandates the lower court to decide or resolve a case within three (3) months unless reduced by the Supreme Court. The time limitations are mandatory, they are intended to ease up the clogging of court dockets and to implements the right of party litigants to speedy justice.
However, if the case was not resolve within the time limits given, the court must still resolve it even after the lapse of the applicable maximum period provided without prejudice to the responsibility of the justice or judge concerned. Accordingly, Professor Balmes14 mentioned that the failure to resolve cases submitted for decision within the period fixed by law constitutes violation of the constitutional right of the parties to a speedy disposition of their cases. In order to reduce violation on the people’s part the constitution clearly stated the qualifications of a judiciary.
As stated in article 8 section 7 as: (1) Constitutional a. He must be a Filipino citizen. He need not be a natural born. This is to obviate the objections against naturalized citizens being treated as second class citizens. In the case of the members of appellate courts, the natural born requirements was retained principally by the reasons of he facet that their decisions are generally final; and b. He must be a member of the Philippine Bar (Sec 7 (2)), i. e. a lawyer whose name is duly inscribed in the Role of Attorneys of the Supreme Court (See Sec 2 (5) infra. membership in the Bar (infra) is a prerequisite to the practice of law in the Philippine. It is obvious that judges should possess proficiency in law in order that they can completely construe and apply the law to cases before them, so as to forestall any harm or prejudice to any litigants. Hence, the requirement of membership in the Bars and Practice of law for appointment to the judiciary; and he must be a person of competence, integrity, probity, and independence (sec. 7 ). These are the minimal qualifications that cannot be altered by Congress. (2) Statutory
Congress is given the authority to prescribe additional qualifications for judges of lower courts. These statutory qualifications are now provided for under a law passed by the defunct Batasang Pambansa. However, according the report done at the regional trial court Branch 11 of Balayan, Batangas, several circumstances contributes on the delay in the disposition of cases. Branch 11 had a total caseload of 157 cases as of the audit date, 89 of which were criminal cases and 68 were civil cases, 13 criminal cases and 16 civil cases had remained unacted for a long time.
There were 6 cases, 3 of which were criminal cases and the other 3 were civil cases, had already been submitted for decision however 6 cases, 2 of them were criminal and the other 4 were civil could not be included in the audit due to the same difficulty in locating their records, despite diligent efforts to do so. Out of the 5 cases 3 of them were criminal and 2 civil had already been submitted for decision but had not been decided as of the audit date and an examination of the court calendar covering the period from January to September, 1993 disclosed that court hearings were not conducted daily.
The Executive Judge of the said court mentioned that the delay in the disposition of cases pending in his sala was because that he had to attend to the needs of three regional trial courts and four municipal trial courts under his administrative supervision. These additional responsibilities which entail multifarious duties, aside from his own health problems, caused him to suspend action on the cited cases. 15 Pasig Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 72 Judge Joy Nerves Casihan-Dumlao studies the draft of the compromise agreement which resolved in November 3, 2008, the small claims case filed by Lorna L. Morales against Diana Concepcion.
The case was filed by Morales on October 15, 2008 after Concepcion failed to settle her PhP 86,000. 00 obligation on July 15, 2008, as was agreed upon in their barangay conciliation proceedings held at Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City. Iloilo Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 Presiding Judge Marie Yvette D. Go successfully resolved the first small claims case outside Metro Manila through Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) shortly after she called the case for hearing. The case arose in 2004 when defendants Zaragoza and Kirosin failed to settle their loan obligation with Ganaca after mortgaging a parcel of land in the amount of Php 53,900. 0. The statement of claim was filed by Ganaca on October 13, 2008, after defendants failed to settle their obligation despite several demand letters, the first of which was dated November 17, 2005 and after going through baranggay conciliation proceedings. The Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases became effective on October 1, 2008 and governs the procedure for prosecuting, defending, and adjudicating small claims cases or civil claims which are exclusively for the payment of a sum of money not exceeding P100, 000. 00, efore first-level courts (Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts). To jumpstart the launch of this Rule, the Supreme Court issued Administrative Order No. 141-2008 designating 22 first-level courts nationwide as pilot courts to hear and decide small claims cases. 16 In terms of environmental cases filed, out of the 3,102cases, 109 were filed before 1998, roughly 3. 5% of cases which are already a decade old, are still undecided. The length of time needed to decide cases in the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts considerably vary.
Following William Gladstone’s famous line “justice delayed, is justice denied. ” And this can not be truer than in the Philippines, In Philippine environmental cases none the less. The need for special courts arises not just in the interest of speedy disposition of cases. There is also a special need to be addressed, training judges and prosecutors in environmental law and exposing them to environmental issues are needed for them to understand the cases that are confronting them. 17 The law and the state are inseparable. It is the established law that makes or breaks a certain state.
Society now a days are considered strong if the rules were clearly stated and followed. Hence, all states proclaim laws effective within their jurisdiction and enforce them through a system of penalties or sanctions. 18 The Philippine Government had entrusted its executive power to the President and the Cabinet, its legislative power to the congress composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the judicial power to the Supreme Court and the Lower Courts. According to De Leon,19 courts exists for people because it is the chamber of truth, justice and honesty.
They must be in partial and should serve the people whoever they are, rich or poor, young or old and disabled or not. It exists to punish the guilty and to free the innocent, those victims of injustice in our society in general and the individual in particular. Courts are being controlled by the people who render service in accordance to the evidences brought before them. It does make its own judgment, but only made judgment according on how the prosecutor and the defendant present their argument and defend their sides. The efficiency of the court defends on the people who administer justice and the people who seek justice.
The Court is authorized to sit either en banc or in divisions of 3, 5 or 7 members. Since the 1970s, the Court has constituted itself in 3 divisions with 5 members each. Majority of the cases are heard and decided by the divisions, rather than the court en banc. However, the Constitution requires that the Court hear en banc “all cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, as well as “those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations”.
The Court en banc also decides cases originally heard by a division when a majority vote cannot be reached within the division. The Court also has the discretion to hear a case en banc even if no constitutional issue is involved, as it typically does if the decision would reverse precedent or presents novel or important questions. 20 Related Studies Related studies were composed of finished researches that are relevant to the present study. The name of the researchers and their findings were all provided. The difference and similarities of those studies to the present study were likewise indicated.
The study of Sevilla21 revealed that one of the determinants of crime rate in our country is the reforms in the criminal justice system, which means that such system must perform their respective duties and obligations and the rampant undue delays that ails our justice system must be put into extinction. Reform also means that the criminal justice system must formulate programs to encourage victims of the injustices to avail for their services ensuring them of their safe, speedy, and efficient services. The cited study was related to the present study, since both concerns the rampant delays of cases.
Yet they differed in terms of their main focus. The present study was focused on the disposition of cases while the study of Sevilla was on the reforms on the criminal justice system. Magistrado22 in his study on the delay of the disposition of cases in Iriga City showed that the delays were often caused by unlimited postponement done by the lawyers. His study also gave insights on how the judiciary works. Magistrado’s study was related to the recent study since both dealt on the disposition of cases. Both used the descriptive method of research.
The differences lay on the respondents and on the place of study. The cited study was on the delay of the disposition of cases in Iriga City, while the present study was on the disposition of cases in Branch 17- Tabaco City. Livica23 conducted a study on the effectiveness of heinous crimes special courts as prescribed by the judge of the RTC and MTC in the province of Albay and in the City of Legazpi. It revealed that due to the establishment of heinous crimes special courts, cases have been resolved because of this special court, delay on the disposition was somehow lessened.
The study of Livica showed relatedness to the present study since both used the descriptive method of research and the court as a subject, yet differ in terms of their topic since the cited study was focused on the effectiveness of heinous crimes special courts while the present study was on the disposition of cases in RTC Tabaco, Branch 17. They also differ in terms of the respondents and in the place of study. The study of Livica was conducted on the RTC and MTC in the whole province of Albay while the present study was on the RTC, Tabaco Branch 17 only.
The study of Oropesa24 revealed that the efficiency of criminal justice system is very low and the widespread failure of the criminal justice system is precisely the reason why a number of criminal or citizens are tempted to do such unlawful acts. Relating the study of Oropesa to the present study, both utilized the descriptive method or research. Both dealt with the low criminal justice system of the country, however they differ in the sense that Oropesa’s study revealed the failure of the criminal justice system while the present study was focused on the disposition of cases.
Synthesis of the State-of-the-Art The mentioned literature and studies showed relevance to the present study. Judicial power includes the duty of the court to serve justice to the people. As stated by De Leon that observance of the right to a speedy disposition of cases enhances the peoples respect for the law and faith in their government. Accordingly, Professor Balmes said that the failure to resolve cases submitted for decision within the period fixed by law constitutes violation of the constitutional right of the parties to a speedy disposition of their cases.
Most of the cited studies utilized the descriptive method of research and they all tackle about the justice system of the country. Magistrado conducted a study on the delay in the disposition of cases in Iriga City. He discussed that the delay were often caused by the postponements done by the lawyers. The study of Magistrado was related to the present study since both focused on the delay in the disposition of cases. Livica on his study entitled “The effectiveness of heinous crimes special courts as perceived by the judges of RTC and MTC in the province of Albay and in the City of Legazpi.
He revealed that the establishment of these special courts lessens the delay on the disposition of cases. The study of Livica was related to the present study since both used the descriptive method of research. The implementation of the said special courts was an effective program in improving of all the court in the Philippines. Sevilla on his study tackles the reforms in the criminal justice system. According to the study, justice system must formulate program to encourage the victims of injustice to avail their rendered services ensuring them of a speedy, safe, and efficient services.
In relation to the present study, both had included programs in order to insure fast and efficient trial to the victims of injustices so as to get the whole trust of the people. Oropesa revealed that the efficiency of criminal justice system was very low and there is a widespread failure of the criminal system in the country. Oropesa’s study and the recent study both dealt on the criminal justice system of the country. Gap Bridged by the Study The cited literature and studies revealed similarities and differences which became the source of valuable information of this study.
Most of the researchers worked on the justice system of the country. They worked on the delays of the disposition of cases in the province of Albay, on the establishment of the heinous crimes special courts, on the low criminal justice system of the country and on the reasons why there were lots of cases clogging the court dockets. All aimed to improve the ways of court in the country, programs that will be of use in the rampant problems of the justice system in the country were also included. Yet, none of them worked on the performance of the RTC-Tabaco, Branch 17. Thus, this bridged the gap. Theoretical Framework
This study is anchored on William Gladstone’s famous line “justice delayed, is justice denied,”25 which is also the motto of the supreme court of the Republic of the Philippines. This very words are the epitome’ of the conception of the accused rights for speedy disposition of cases. One must know the fact that a long delay in the disposition of cases creates mistrust of the government itself. It also serves as a refuge of the accused if he is guilty and a continuing injustice if he is innocent. Likewise, justice is affected not simply by how the court decides the legal merits but also by how the court processes the case.
Delay in the court proceedings threatens the very foundation of our criminal justice system. There are so many consequences of court delays; first; it jeopardizes the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. All criminally accused in our society have a right not only to a fair, but to a speedy trial as well. Second, it hampers the society’s need for a speedy conviction as the case becomes older the memories of the witness diminished, the chance for an acquittal arises. Third, delay erodes public confidence in the judicial process. Fourth, it strains criminal justice system resources. Pre-trial detainees dog jail facilities.
Police Officers must appear in court on numerous occasions at public expense. Case law or judicial decisions are official interpretation of law made by persons and agencies of the government performing judicial and quasi – judicial functions. Justice pertains to the way the rights of the people are valued. The doctrine “salus populi est, supreme lex (the general welfare of the people is the supreme law) defines justice in its absolute sense. Protection should be equally granted to all members of the society. For justice to be duly served, the basic consideration is to preserve the vested basic rights of all members of the society. t refers to conception of a just society, where “justice” refers to more than just the administration of laws. Justice gives individuals fair treatment and a just share of the benefits of society. Justice delves on the importance of rule of law and human rights. For the victims of the crime justice is to address the need to provide them with a sense of fairness and access to a justice system that has few formal obligations to make things right for them. It does this through processes such as direct restitution, victim-offender mediation and policies that promote victims’ rights.
For the unduly accused or charged, the justice they call for is a more organized and humane treatment. The proper implementation of due process and equal protection. Fair trial and hearing of their cases. Speedy disposition of the charges unduly imputed on them. Justice delayed is a justice denied and the principle of speedy disposition of cases compliments the very foundation of this study. Since, this study is focused on the assessment of the performance of RTC Branch 17 of Tabaco in deciding cases, therefore, it is through this study that it can be validated whether applied or not.
That is, if there is much unreasonable delays in the disposition of cases in the locale of this study, it could mean that it does not live up to the expectation of the society and the court system of the Philippines, making it a failure to the very creed of the Supreme Court of “justice delayed, justice denied”. But if there are no unreasonable delays, it means that justice is served to the Philippine polity. Figure 1 illustrates the theoretical paradigm of this study. Figure 1. The Theoretical Paradigm of the Study Conceptual Framework
Actual criminal cases were filed on the Regional Trial Court of Tabaco City, Branch 17, after the filing of cases a trial proceeds. Speedy trial is a trial conducted according to fixed rules, regulation, and proceedings of law free from vexations, capricious, and oppressive delays. It is after hearing the side of both parties that a decision is made. A decision is the judgment rendered by a court of other tribunal after the presentation of the respective position of the parties in an ordinary or criminal case or upon a stipulation of facts upon which the disposition of case is based.
However, the decision of the court is affected by some factors in which the hearing period and the litigation process goes beyond the given time frame. The main focus of this study is the determination of the Regional Trial Court’s performance on the disposition of cases. Filed cases have different status namely transferred/ archived cases, pending cases and disposed cases within and beyond the time frame. In terms of the disposition of cases the RTC had encountered several problems that hinder the good performance of the court.
These problems were determined with the use of interview method and the supporting documents generated from the court. After enumerating the problems some recommendations were made. The said recommendations aim to lessen the numerous problems encountered by the RTC and to improve its performance in deciding filed cases. Thus, this will result to an enhanced performance of the Regional Trial Court on deciding cases. The conceptual paradigm of the study is presented in Figure 2. Figure 2. The Conceptual Paradigm of the Study Definitions of Terms
For the better understanding of this study, the researcher provides the conceptual and the operational definition of the following terms: Disposition. The act of the courts of rendering judgment after trial. In this study it refers to the rendered judgment after trial by the Tabaco RTC. Performance. Refers to the act of accomplishing a task effectively and effeciantly. In this study this refers to the capacity of the Regional Trial Court to decide cases within the time frame. Court Dockets. Refers to the number of cases filed on the court.
In this study this refers to the number filed cases on the RTC. Speedy Disposition. Particularly this refers to the grace period of 90 days given to the judge for the application of the proper judgment. In this study, it refers to the judgment rendered by Tabaco RTC Branch 17 within the 90 day reglementary period. Judicial Power. Power of or relating to the administration of justice, ordered or enforced by a court. In this study it refers to the power of Tabaco RTC to to weigh and settle actual controversies being laid on them and to dispose the same. Jurisdiction.
The power, the right, or authority to interpret and apply the law within the imposed limitations of its territorial boundaries. In this study this refers to the right of Tabaco RTC Branch 17 to litigate cases within its imposed limitations. Litigation. The act or process of resolving disputes in the proper court and of laying all evidences before the court for both parties to hear facts and settle the issue. In this study it refers to the process of resolving disputes brought in Tabaco RTC. Pending Cases. This refers to the cases not yet settled and/or arraigned.
In this study this refers to the cases which are not yet decided by the Tabaco RTC Branch 17. Transferred Cases. This refers to the cases which are transferred to other courts. In this study, it refers to cases which are moved from Tabaco RTC Branch 17. Reglementary Period. This is the period mandated by law to decide on a particular case 90 days after trial. In this study, it refers to the compliance of the Tabaco RTC Branch 17 in the 90 day period to decide on a particular case. Notes 1 Hector S. De Leon,. Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, 1997 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. 1997 p. 230 2 Ibid. pp. 261 – 262. 3 Ibid. p. 241. 4 Hector S. De Leon, . Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, 2005 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. , 2005p. 3. 5 Hector S. De Leon,. Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, 1997 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. , 1997 p. 230 6 Balmes, Erickson H. The compiled case doctrines of the Ponencias of Justice Romeo Callejo in Criminal Law. p. 2 7 Ibid. p. 245. 8 http//www. google. com 9 http//hiltonhouse. com 10 http//www. ingentaconnect. com 11 http//www. ngentaconnect. com 12 Ibid 13 Hector S. De Leon, . Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, 2005 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. , 2005 p. 3 14 Balmes, Erickson H. The compiled case doctrines of the Ponencias of Justice Romeo Callejo in Criminal Law. p. 2 15 http://lawphil. net 16http://www. manilacityph. com/supremecourt. htm 17 http://www. haribon. org. ph 18 Hector S. De Leon, . Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, 2005 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. , 2005 p. 3 19 Hector S. De Leon,.
Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, 1997 Edition; Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc. , 1997 p. 230 20 http://en. wikipedia. org. 21 Ibid. p. 244. 22 Ibid. p. 243. 23 Ibid. p. 117. 24 Ibid. p. 117. 25 http://www. infed. org CHAPTER III RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY This chapter consists of the research method, respondents, the research instrument, and the statistical tools employed. A detailed discussion of each was provided. Research Method This study focused on the performance of the Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court in Tabaco City for the year 1997-2001.
It utilized the descriptive method of research. This method of research is suited to the study which focuses on the present condition in which the materials are already existing and available. This method was used to determine the performance of the court, if it is compliant with the specified time frames in disposition of cases. This also determines the problems encountered by the RTC and the programs implemented to address the said problems. This type of study requires a descriptive method of research because it tried to find new truth and additional knowledge from the generated data.
In addition, focus group method was likewise employed in this study. This method was used in order to determine the performance of Tabaco RTC Branch 17 through an informal but guided interview scheme to the respondents. The accumulated data were then collated, presented and interpreted that served as the bases for analysis in the findings of this study, which in turn served as the bases for the conclusions and recommendations of the study. Sources of Data The data for this study were gathered from both primary and secondary sources.
The primary sources of data in this study were the answers given by the respondents to the interview made by the researcher. The secondary sources were generated from minutes of the court proceedings, books, internet sites, journals and magazines which are material to the present study. Respondents This study employed a total enumeration scheme concerning its respondents. The main respondents of this study were the people that comprise RTC Branch 17 of Tabaco City, which includes, the presiding judge, the clerk of court, 3 stenographers, 2 interpreters, the process server and the clerk of court, totaling 9 respondents all in all.
Aside from the gathered data the researcher conducted a face to face interview with court judges, court lawyers and the other court staff to identify the performance of the RTC. Research Instrument A structured interview guide questionnaire was used in gathering the necessary data for this study. The questions were about the problems encountered by the judge in the disposition of filed cases and implemented programs to solve the stated problems. The answers of the respondents were the main basis the findings of this study.
This was done to acquire data that would substantiate the present study. The study also aimed to collect necessary data from the office of the court of justice in Branch 17-Tabaco City since the documents can be found on the said office, however, the documents utilized were only those that were open to the public. Validation of the Instrument Validity is defined as the extent to which a test produced information that was useful for a specific purpose. It also refers to the accuracy or truthfulness of a measurement.
Since interview questions were used to gather relevant information, the researcher had used content validity. The instrument made was truly a representative of the whole content of the study. An instrument in content validity provides adequate coverage. Expert opinions, literature searches, and pretest open – ended questions help to establish content validity. The researcher had made used of an open ended questions and it intended to gather opinions and knowledge of court officials and staff. The prepared questionnaires were distributed to the members of the trial court in Legazpi City.
They were not members of the actual respondents in the study. The trial respondents were requested to give their comments and reactions on the prepared survey tools. After this process, all comments and suggestions for the questions in questionnaires were collected and incorporated in the final survey questionnaire. The data gathered were freed from errors and biases. Data Gathering Procedure The researcher’s first task was to gather data and acquire information from the city court.
Hence, he wrote a letter of request addressed to the presiding judge of Branch 17-Tabaco City asking permission to have access on the pertinent documents and to conduct an interview on the court staff. The researcher went to the court to gather the needed data after the approval. The questions were in written form and it intended to determine the respondent’s opinion based from their experience and observations. The first respondents were the court judges and the second were the court lawyers, they are given ample time to answer the questions.
The same process of interview and the same questions were asked to the other court staff. The researcher started to process the gathered data and subjected it to statistical analysis and interpretation with the use of appropriate statistical tools. After the interpretation of data the researcher formulated some recommendation and possible solution to the problems. Statistical Tools The gathered data were tabulated and subjected to statistical analysis. The results were interpreted using the following statistical tools: Frequency Count .
This refers to the number of times that a particular score or observation occurs. This was applied to show the number of cases filed, the number of cases resolved and the number of cases pending. Percentage. This is taken by diving the frequency of an answer by the total number of respondents. The formula is P = = F x 100 N Where : P = percentage F = frequency N = number of respondents 100 = constant value Clearance Ratio.
This was obtained by dividing the number of disposed cases with the number of filed cases. The formula is presented below: Clearance Ratio = number of disposed case Number of filed case CHAPTER IV Presentation and interpretation of data This chapter presents the analysis and interpretation of data of the study. Specifically, this presents the performance of the Regional Trial Court of Tabaco City in the disposition of criminal cases. The problems encountered by the court and the implemented programs to solve it were also included. Table 1 Cases filed from January 1997 to December 2001 Years |Jan |Feb |Mar | |1997 |37 |12 |32% | |1998 |57 |33 |58% | |1999 |79 |48 |61% | |2000 |49 |17 |35% | |2001 |41 |14 |34% | |Total |263 |124 |47% | Presented in table 2. A are the decided cases from the year 1997 – 2001 based on the number of cases that was filed in the same period.
It was found out that the Regional Trial Court was able to decide 124 out of 263 or 47 percent of the filed cases in five years. In 1997, 12 cases or 32 percent was decided out of 37 cases. Out of 57 cases filed 33 cases or 58 percent was decided in the year 1998 while, 48 cases out of 79 filed or 61 percent cases were disposed in 1999. The court had decided 17 and 14 cases in the years 2000 and 2001 which has 35% and 34% respectively. Based on findings is showed that the highest percentage in terms of number of cases decided was in 1999 followed by 1998 in which the court was able to disposed 61 and 58 percent cases respectively.
The lowest number of cases decided was in 1997 which was only 32 percent. Findings implied that the highest percentage in terms of cases decided during these years 1998 and 1999 was due to the awareness of the judges on the provision under the present constitution that the Supreme Court, all lower collegiate courts and all other courts are required to decide or resolve cases within a certain period of time. With the setting of an absolute time limit in the disposition of cases, the number of cases in a certain court the Philippines mandates the lower court to decide or resolve a case within three (3) months unless reduced by the Supreme Court.
Findings imply that during those years when the number of cases decided was low, this was in year 1997, 2000 and 2001, the judges tried their best to dispose the cases but there were few barriers that hindered them from their work, such as reasonable delays in the proceedings, or the case had been archived or transferred to other court. It could also be inferred that, the delay in the disposition of cases pending in the court was due to the reason that the judges had to attend to the needs of other regional or trial municipal trial courts under their administrative supervision. These additional responsibilities which entail multifarious duties, aside from his own health problems, might have caused them to suspend action on the cited cases. Though it may seem low in percentage but it does not necessarily imply that Tabaco RTC Branch 17 was incompetent in the discharge of it duties and functions.
The seemingly low turn out of decisions was due to some reasons, as claimed by the respondents that there were reasonable delays in the proceedings of the litigation like the availability of public lawyers for less fortunate litigants that leads to postponement in some of its proceedings. It is to be noted that what the law forbids is an unreasonable delay in the litigation that makes it qualify as a violation of the right to a speedy trial, but if the delay is reasonable, it not a manifestation of the court’s failure to abide to its mandate in the disposition of cases, it is for the reason that the court can only dispose the case after the trial has been consumed, and it does not necessarily follow that what was filed in the given year can be disposed of in that same year for reasons of reasonable delays in litigation.
This follows that, a case that may have been filed, say, in 1997 might still be in trial until 1998 or beyond, so considering the very limitations of this study, it is but safe to assume that the apparent inability to dispose cases on time is not entirely the fault of the court concerned. The preceding implication leads now to the other reason why there seemed to be a low percentage in the disposition of cases, that is, some cases are still pending even beyond the year that it was originally filed. Another reason is that, some of the filed cases were either archived or transferred to another court, for whatever reason, making it beyond the jurisdiction of Tabaco RTC Branch 17 to decide, as can be noted in the succeeding table (see table 2. B). Table 2. B Transferred Cases/Archived Cases | |Number of Transferred/Archived Cases|Percentage of Transferred/Archived | |Year |Number of filed Cases | |Cases | |1997 |37 |20 |54% | |1998 |57 |20 |35% | |1999 |79 |28 |35% | |2000 |49 |23 |47% | |2001 |41 |17 |42% | |Total |263 |108 |41 % | Among the 37 filed cases in 1997, 20 or 54 percent was transferred or archived of the total number of filed cases on this year. In 1998, 20 or 35 percent of the 57 filed cases were transferred among the said case. 5 percent or 28 out of 79 filed cases were transferred in 1999. In the year 2000 and 2001 the number of transferred cases was 23 and 17 which revealed a 47 percent and 41 percent respectively. The Regional Trial Court had transferred 108 of the 263 cases which mean that a rough 42 percent of the total cases for five (5) years were transferred. Within the period of five years, the highest percentage cases that were transferred / archived was during 1997 and the lowest was during both 1998 and 1999. The findings imply that efficiency of the court defends on the people who administer justice and the people who seek justice.
It could also be inferred that during those years when the percentage of cases that were transferred / archived was very high showed that clients were not satisfied of the decisions made by the courts or it could be that these are the cases that needs other judges’ decision. The findings implied that the high percentage of the number of cases archived or transferred could be that these were cases that have been pending for a long period of time and that the complainants were not satisfied of the proceedings that they requested for a another judge or to hear the case in another court.
The findings on the high percentage of the number of archived or transferred cases also implies that the case was a heinous crime and it was transferred to the heinous crimes special courts as prescribed by the judge of the RTC and MTC in the province of Albay and in the City of Legazpi. It was only after the establishment of heinous crimes special courts that the archived cases have been resolved. If one would make notice, in 1997 (presented in table 2. A) there is a low percentage in the decided cases filed in that year having only 32 percent decided cases, this very fact is now complimented in the findings in table 2. B that the major reason why there is a seemingly low turn out in decisions is that because 54 percent or 20 out of 37 cases filed were archived/transferred to other courts. The same is true in the years 2000 and 2001.
Conversely, there is a high percentage of decided cases in the years 1998 and 1999 because there was also a low percentage in the transferred/archived cases in those years. Table 2. C Pending Cases | |Number of filed Cases |Number of Pending Cases |Percentage of Pending Cases | |Year | | | | |1997 |37 |5 |14% | |1998 |57 |4 |7% |1999 |79 |3 |4% | |2000 |49 |9 |18% | |2001 |41 |10 |24% | |Total |263 |31 |12 % | Among the 37 filed cases in 1997 14 percent of the cases were noted to be pending which means that 5 cases out of 37 were still pending in 1997. There were 4 cases out of the 57 filed cases in 1998 were noted to be pending, it is 7 percent of the total filed cases for this year.
In 1999, it indicates that 3 out of 79 filed cases or 4 percent of the cases were still pending. In 2000 and in 2001, 9 out of 49 cases and 10 out of 49 cases were noted to be pending which revealed 18 percent and 24 percent respectively. Among the 263 total numbers of filed cases 31 of it were noted to be pending, which indicate that 12 percent of the case were pending for five (5) consecutive years. Based on findings on the number of pending cases, it was noted that the highest percentage of pending cases was in 2000 and 2001 with 18 and 24 percent respectively, while it was in 1999 that registered the lowest percentage of 4 percent.
The high percentage of pending number of cases could be inferred that there were delays and those delays were often caused by unlimited postponement done by the lawyers. Another reason could be the witness could not give the needed data on the cases. This was supported by Magistrado in his study on the delay of the disposition of cases in Iriga City and his study also gave insights on how the judiciary works. Again, it can be gleaned that it’s not the failure of the judges nor of the court per se, that cause the pendency of the case. It should be noted clearly that the delay in the litigation of the case were reasonable as already stated.
Only unreasonable delays are prohibited by law but not reasonable ones. In this particular study, pendency of the cases are reasonable delay on the part of the judge in his disposition since the reglementary period only arises after the trial was exhausted, and it does not necessarily follow that what was filed in a given year can be disposed of in that very same year because of reasonable delays in litigation. With all the limitations stated in this study it is but safer to analyze that the delayed disposition or no disposition at all of cases filed of cases filed is not entirely the flaw of the judges concerned. Table 2. D Disposed Cases of Tabaco RTC Branch 17 |Number of Disposed Cases |Disposed within the Time Frame |Disposed beyond the Time Frame | |Year | | | | |1997 |12 |6 |6 | |1998 |33 |15 |18 | |1999 |48 |18 |30 | |2000 |17 |6 |11 | |2001 |14 |7 |7 | |Total |124 |52 |72 | Table 2. D presented the number of cases disposed within and beyond the disposition time frame. The number of the disposed cases for the five (5) consecutive years was the basis of the findings. A total of 12 cases were disposed in the year 1997 and 6 of it were disposed within the time frame, the remaining 6 were disposed beyond the time frame.
Out of the 33 decided cases in 1998, 15 were disposed within the time frame and 18 were decided beyond the given time frame. It can be seen that in 1997 the court is averagely compliant with the disposition time frame since half of the filed cases were solved. There were 48 disposed cases in the year 1999, 30 of which were disposed beyond the time frame while 18 cases were disposed within the disposition time frame. Accordingly, 17 cases were disposed in the year 2000, 11 of it were disposed beyond the time frame and only 6 were disposed within the time frame. It was in these two years that the disposed case beyond the time frame is higher than those that disposed within the time frame.
The court was not that compliant on the said years since the settlements of most cases were done beyond the given time frame. It was in 2001 that a total of 14 cases were disposed and 7 were disposed within the time frame while the other half was disposed beyond the given time frame. The court was compliant with the disposition time frame of cases since it was able to dispose half number of cases on time. Among the five considered years, it was in 1999 that the highest number of cases was disposed within the time frame while the least was in the year 1997 and 2001. The highest number of disposed cases beyond the disposition time frame was in 2001 and the least was noted in 1997.
It can be noted that in some years the numbers on disposed cases beyond the time frame were much higher than those that were disposed within the time frame. Hence, the total