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House panel approves Lobregat bill for more courts in Zambo

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The House Committee on Justice chaired by Rep. Reynaldo Umali approved House Bill No. 3749, authored by Congressman Celso L. Lobregat, creating four additional Regional Trial Courts in Zamboanga City.

The hearing was held on March 15, 2017 and presided by the Committee Vice-Chairman Vicente S. E. Veloso.

In his sponsorship speech, Lobregat cited the 6,231 backlog cases in the different RTC Branches. This figure was contained in a letter from the office of the city prosecutor, Judge Ricardo Cabaron dated August 31, 2016 addressed to Lobregat.

Lobregat also stressed that no less than Associate Justice Presberito Velasco said, that the only way to expedite case processing and adjudication is to give each judge a manageable load of 300 cases.

In 1980, when B.P Blg. 129 was enacted into law by Congress, the number of RTCs and MTCs in Zamboanga City was pegged at six (6) and four (4) branches, respectively. In November 15, 2012, R.A No. 10301 increased by four (4) the number of RTCs in Zamboanga City.

Presently, out of the 10 RTCs in Zamboanga City, two (2) are not yet fully organized and another two (2) have yet to fill the positions of judges. Even if all 10 RTC branches will be operational, with the 6,231 backlog of cases, the average case load for each RTC branch would be 623 cases. This is double the manageable case load mentioned by Justice Velasco, according to Lobregat.

Due to the increased in population of Zamboanga City, coupled with the increase in the volume of cases filed, the present court dockets have been clogged and this has resulted in the unreasonable delay in the resolution of cases to the prejudice of the litigants.

Once enacted into law, the proposed measure will address the need to decongest the court dockets and promote speedy disposition of cases filed in the existing courts of Zamboanga City, Lobregat added.

This will be in consonance with the Constitutional provision which provides that “All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies,” Lobregat said.

Present during the hearing was Atty. Jose Midas Marquez, Supreme Court Administrator, who expressed support for the passage of the measure.

Upon motion of Senior Deputy Majority Leader Cong. Juan Pablo Bondoc, the Committee approved HB No. 3749, consolidating therewith another similar bill.

Lobregat thanked Atty. Midas Marquez and the members of the Committee for the speedy passage of the Bill.  (Dexter Yap)




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