Supreme Court Lauds Passage of RA No. 11576

August 5, 2021

The Supreme Court is pleased with the signing into law of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11576, the law expanding the jurisdiction of trial courts nationwide.

“Through this new law, the jurisdictional amounts of our trial courts have now been adjusted to levels which are more suitable to the current economic conditions and property valuation in the country,” said Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo. “This law will no doubt help declog the dockets of our second-level courts, which in turn would lead to a faster adjudication of cases and better administration of justice,” he added.

R.A. No. 11576, or “An Act Further Expanding the Jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, Amending for the Purposes Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Otherwise Known as ‘The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980,’ As Amended,” amends Section 19 of BP Blg. 129 by increasing the jurisdictional amount cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) in all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, from the previous amount of P20,000 (P50,000 in Metro Manila) to P400,000, except for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands and buildings, original jurisdiction over which remains with the first-level courts.

R.A. No. 11576 also increases the jurisdiction of the RTCs in all actions and maritime jurisdiction where the demand or claims exceeds P2,000,000, from the previous amount of P300,000 (P400,000 in Metro Manila); in all matters of testate and intestate probate where the gross value of the estate exceeds P2,000,000, from the previous amount of P300,000 (P400,000 in Metro Manila); and 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 P2,000,000.

The new law likewise delegates to the Supreme Court the authority to adjust the jurisdictional amount for first- and second-level courts to: (1) reflect the extraordinary supervening inflation and deflation of currency; (2) reflect change in the land valuation; or (3) maintain the proportion of caseload between first- and second-level courts, without prejudice on the part of the Congress to adjust the amounts when the circumstances warrant.

“I would like to thank the leaders of both houses of Congress and all lawmakers who supported the bill. I also personally thank Sen. Richard J. Gordon, Chairperson of Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, who worked hard for the passing of the bill. I likewise acknowledge my predecessors, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin who first broached the idea with lawmakers about amending the law on the jurisdiction of our trial courts, and Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta who pushed for the approval of the bill in Congress,” said Chief Justice Gesmundo.

The last time the jurisdictional amounts of trial courts nationwide were adjusted was on February 22, 2004, when the amount in Sec. 33(1) of BP Blg. 129 for first-level courts outside of Metro Manila was increased to P300,000. The jurisidictional amount of Metro Manila first-level courts had been previously adjusted to P400,000 on March 20, 1999.

Since 2004, no other amendment to the jurisdictional amounts of the first-level courts has been introduced.

R.A. No. 11576 was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 30, 2021. It will take effect 15 days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two newspapers of general circulation.