Stricter Monitoring of Issuance of TROs, Voluntary Inhibitions

February 20, 2020

In two separate Administrative Orders, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta has required all justices of the Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), as well as trial court judges, to submit to the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) copies of temporary restraining orders (TROs), status quo ante orders (SQAs), and writs of preliminary injunction (WPIs), and orders of voluntary inhibition which they have issued. The order from the Chief Justice was to be strictly complied with by the justices and judges.

The issuance of the said administrative orders is congruent to one of the core areas in Chief Justice Peralta’s Ten-Point Program which is INTEGRITY. The other cores areas are EFFICIENCY, SERVICE, and SECURITY.

In Administrative Order No. 63-2020, Chief Justice Peralta required the justices and judges to submit to the OCJ beginning this March 1 copies of the temporary restraining orders (TROs), status quo ante orders (SQAs), and writs of preliminary injunction (WPIs) they issued within five days from such issuance.

The submission of reports on TROs and WPIs was discontinued because of its incorporation in the monthly report of cases pursuant to OCA Circular No. 246-2018. These monthly reports, however, do not reflect the qualitative details of the TROs and WPIs.

The justices and judges were also required to copy furnish the OCA of all the TROs, SQA, and WPIs they issued. The copies may either be emailed or sent through postal mail addressed to the OCJ.

Citing the Court’s jurisprudence in Fortune Life Insurance Co., Inc. v. Luczon, Jr. (538 PHIL 561-570 [2006]), the Chief Justice stressed that “[i]njunction is an extraordinary remedy to be resorted to when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences that cannot be remedied under any standard compensation. A court may issue an injunction only if it is fully convinced of its extreme necessity and after it has complied with the procedural requirements set by law.”

The Chief also reiterated its ruling in BPI v. Hontanosas, Jr.  (737 PHIL 38-60 [2014]) that “[e]very court should remember that an injunction should not be granted lightly or precipitately because it is a limitation upon the freedom of the defendant’s action. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it, for no power exists whose exercise is more delicate, which requires greater caution and deliberation, or is more dangerous in a doubtful case, than the issuance of an injunction.”

In a separate issuance, the Chief Justice came out with Administrative Order No. 62-2020 requiring the justices of the third level courts and the second- and first-level courts judges to specifically address “persistent reports that some Justices and Judges have been voluntarily inhibiting from cases assigned or raffled to them on grounds that are neither just nor valid.”

The Chief Justice reminded those concerned of their duties “to perform their judicial duties without favor, bias or prejudice” as mandated by Section 1, Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary andto “carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties under Section 3, Canon 5 of the same Code.

All copies of orders of voluntary inhibition should be submitted to the OCJ, copy furnished the OCA, within five days from issuance of such orders. These may either be emailed or sent through postal mail addressed to the OCJ. ###