Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines
READ: Infographics on Bar Bulletin No. 2-2023 Re: Application Requirements for the 2023 Bar Examinations sc.judiciary.gov.ph/files/bar-2023 #WeCanDoIt #HernanDoIt #Bar2023

For the Year 2022

REGION NUMBER OF PENDING CASES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2021 CASE INFLOW CASE OUTFLOW NUMBER OF PENDING CASES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2022
NUMBER OF NEW CASES FILED/RAFFLED NUMBER OF CASES REVIVED NUMBER OF CASES RECEIVED FROM OTHER COURTS/STATION NUMBER OF CASES DECIDED/RESOLVED NUMBER OF CASES ARCHIVED NUMBER OF CASES TRANSFERRED TO OTHER COURTS/STATION
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (R.A. 9262) NCR 2,117 1,802 389 47 1,746 556 38 2,034
REG 1 617 401 93 28 573 60 121 401
REG 2 574 369 55 0 341 24 4 630
REG 3 1,705 1,051 197 58 1,312 143 34 1,506
REG 4 1,626 1,127 200 116 1,155 217 55 1,471
REG 5 527 508 79 59 531 79 12 572
REG 6 551 369 48 14 391 52 18 572
REG 7 725 489 50 137 557 87 45 797
REG 8 234 196 21 0 186 14 0 251
REG 9 592 145 25 2 121 19 16 479
REG 10 668 535 56 10 631 64 12 584
REG 11 536 532 59 81 517 99 47 583
REG 12 370 184 34 0 188 30 0 388
TOTAL 10,842 7,708 1,306 552 8,249 1,444 402 10,268
RAPE (WITH MINOR VICTIM AND/OR ACCUSED) NCR 2,064 1,955 234 59 1,136 558 58 2,605
REG 1 1,396 905 131 77 802 143 344 1,287
REG 2 982 626 73 4 451 45 0 1,184
REG 3 3,548 1,871 171 66 2,280 263 41 3,048
REG 4 3,383 1,869 251 242 1,124 475 108 3,862
REG 5 1,928 1,014 290 201 946 263 52 2,199
REG 6 1,007 583 89 18 440 99 18 1,114
REG 7 1,091 718 89 195 694 164 103 1,222
REG 8 655 377 84 2 291 80 0 753
REG 9 1,268 362 53 1 182 72 22 1,227
REG 10 1,357 696 94 5 652 175 3 1,239
REG 11 1,117 1,801 122 214 1,473 279 149 1,418
REG 12 561 282 47 1 251 69 1 561
TOTAL 20,357 13,059 1,728 1,085 10,722 2,685 899 21,719
RAPE CASES (R.A. 8353) NCR 679 476 51 34 485 100 32 624
REG 1 735 208 65 14 266 20 45 667
REG 2 402 243 27 4 195 22 1 453
REG 3 782 434 64 37 417 60 86 802
REG 4 2,776 1,372 203 52 942 276 111 3,138
REG 5 524 287 97 19 237 26 174 492
REG 6 1,255 551 65 13 430 158 58 1,274
REG 7 1,269 264 28 130 256 29 95 1,188
REG 8 467 232 47 23 205 28 14 536
REG 9 374 49 20 0 87 8 0 341
REG 10 623 445 56 13 428 64 16 684
REG 11 1,289 462 64 54 354 168 80 1,278
REG 12 519 341 62 3 250 131 4 540
TOTAL 11,694 5,364 849 396 4,552 1,090 716 12,017
CHILD ABUSE (R.A. 7610) NCR 2,934 2,647 361 87 2,103 612 62 3,206
REG 1 1,044 617 98 48 693 66 187 849
REG 2 570 403 36 1 295 16 0 692
REG 3 2,860 1,690 175 87 1,464 257 43 2,934
REG 4 2,575 1,932 237 152 1,353 435 110 2,781
REG 5 1,352 839 135 172 717 161 49 1,656
REG 6 1,082 474 44 9 357 69 36 1,166
REG 7 1,128 1,250 53 251 1,114 132 57 1,384
REG 8 618 338 54 0 307 65 0 628
REG 9 770 158 42 0 115 28 16 668
REG 10 1,028 785 35 37 757 113 28 1,001
REG 11 983 1,109 58 104 727 252 69 1,208
REG 12 400 210 13 1 151 42 0 433
TOTAL 17,344 12,452 1,341 949 10,153 2,248 657 18,606
DRUGS CASES (INVOLVING MINORS) NCR 929 473 41 85 600 21 46 821
REG 1 70 27 2 2 28 0 12 26
REG 2 56 27 0 0 22 0 1 60
REG 3 369 103 6 65 243 4 27 273
REG 4 361 153 17 35 217 30 27 272
REG 5 19 29 2 0 18 0 4 21
REG 6 122 39 7 7 68 8 7 88
REG 7 219 229 10 39 316 11 11 165
REG 8 21 5 0 0 10 0 0 16
REG 9 125 5 0 0 6 1 2 112
REG 10 101 39 3 19 71 7 1 82
REG 11 218 218 8 44 203 11 52 226
REG 12 37 13 0 0 14 4 0 34
TOTAL 2,647 1,360 96 296 1,816 97 190 2,196
ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS NCR 435 341 28 0 333 89 2 383
REG 1 71 110 5 0 77 8 0 108
REG 2 89 62 14 3 96 7 1 70
REG 3 264 223 22 26 244 26 0 263
REG 4 361 359 37 16 308 58 9 382
REG 5 89 108 21 2 96 7 12 111
REG 6 78 59 2 1 65 6 0 70
REG 7 127 91 6 0 104 6 0 97
REG 8 64 59 5 0 52 4 1 65
REG 9 44 52 4 1 52 4 0 45
REG 10 32 93 8 1 67 9 4 58
REG 11 115 159 3 5 88 16 11 172
REG 12 27 33 1 1 29 2 0 35
TOTAL 1,796 1,749 156 56 1,611 242 40 1,859
HUMAN TRAFFICKING (INVOLVING MINORS) NCR 259 75 7 8 74 9 9 279
REG 1 14 6 0 0 7 1 0 15
REG 2 32 6 4 1 1 0 0 42
REG 3 141 64 5 11 82 6 6 115
REG 4 104 41 1 1 38 2 1 109
REG 5 29 4 1 26 9 1 21 27
REG 6 19 12 5 0 10 0 0 32
REG 7 50 14 3 4 27 1 2 49
REG 8 34 7 0 1 5 0 1 36
REG 9 27 5 1 0 3 1 0 35
REG 10 56 19 1 6 21 4 3 54
REG 11 36 15 0 7 6 3 2 49
REG 12 11 9 0 0 5 0 0 8
TOTAL 812 277 28 65 288 28 45 850
HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES (R.A. 9208) NCR 119 45 5 5 36 12 14 121
REG 1 39 18 4 0 10 2 4 44
REG 2 29 11 2 0 6 1 0 35
REG 3 97 28 1 3 34 3 4 122
REG 4 175 61 4 4 48 3 5 201
REG 5 4 16 2 2 6 0 4 14
REG 6 29 0 0 3 4 2 0 26
REG 7 67 10 0 7 9 5 13 66
REG 8 29 3 1 1 5 1 1 27
REG 9 30 4 0 0 2 1 0 26
REG 10 47 8 3 2 19 8 6 34
REG 11 40 6 1 0 4 3 0 43
REG 12 8 8 2 0 2 3 0 13
TOTAL 713 218 25 27 185 44 51 772
ALL OTHER CHILD AND FAMILY CASES (CRIMINAL CASES) NCR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 1 83 30 4 0 35 3 0 74
REG 2 80 68 7 0 64 2 1 89
REG 3 21 19 1 6 3 0 0 38
REG 4 412 109 5 4 49 9 0 372
REG 5 75 36 6 0 33 6 0 78
REG 6 33 7 2 0 11 3 0 48
REG 7 96 22 3 6 28 3 1 92
REG 8 64 28 3 0 34 6 0 55
REG 9 52 13 3 0 7 4 2 52
REG 10 233 85 15 0 126 10 2 183
REG 11 93 47 9 0 65 10 0 110
REG 12 30 6 0 0 5 1 0 30
TOTAL 1,272 470 58 16 460 57 6 1,221
DECLARATION OF NULLITY/ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE NCR 3,567 1,268 207 10 1,850 27 15 3,200
REG 1 1,597 501 94 50 702 36 122 1,423
REG 2 524 147 16 0 122 1 0 565
REG 3 2,274 512 48 38 712 3 29 1,973
REG 4 1,924 525 52 41 585 14 32 1,771
REG 5 394 147 13 32 169 3 15 407
REG 6 1,297 263 33 55 281 36 54 1,328
REG 7 1,711 459 80 163 505 25 16 1,881
REG 8 394 151 3 0 134 2 0 403
REG 9 480 76 1 0 61 3 2 380
REG 10 607 216 25 7 221 8 5 638
REG 11 323 114 13 21 178 6 12 299
REG 12 133 29 0 0 24 1 0 136
TOTAL 15,225 4,408 585 417 5,544 165 302 14,404
ADOPTION NCR 284 41 31 3 225 1 3 130
REG 1 267 26 29 7 171 42 9 112
REG 2 59 4 0 0 34 2 0 25
REG 3 214 23 4 3 119 3 1 104
REG 4 185 11 1 3 90 1 2 83
REG 5 40 7 0 3 24 0 1 25
REG 6 224 16 2 2 92 2 4 154
REG 7 192 23 3 22 111 5 2 122
REG 8 85 6 0 29 35 0 1 63
REG 9 77 4 2 0 19 2 1 51
REG 10 71 8 3 0 33 0 0 48
REG 11 71 14 17 5 64 1 2 35
REG 12 40 5 0 0 12 0 0 29
TOTAL 1,809 188 92 77 1,029 59 26 981
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NCR 2,307 1,195 107 71 1,330 35 61 2,208
REG 1 720 522 48 6 573 25 8 687
REG 2 499 444 10 4 386 2 6 576
REG 3 1,014 612 45 25 678 10 40 927
REG 4 2,098 976 15 29 1,095 35 28 1,824
REG 5 581 517 29 8 629 4 16 523
REG 6 1,088 444 34 11 455 35 13 1,077
REG 7 1,536 543 37 26 753 18 41 1,301
REG 8 487 290 6 13 335 4 14 435
REG 9 429 201 5 3 184 9 3 452
REG 10 857 461 24 13 495 11 25 846
REG 11 895 393 13 24 411 11 30 1,004
REG 12 541 203 2 0 204 1 3 525
TOTAL 13,052 6,801 375 233 7,528 200 288 12,385
ADULTERY/CONCUBINAGE NCR 134 82 16 1 73 7 1 152
REG 1 60 68 16 0 60 1 0 83
REG 2 74 43 17 2 77 7 1 53
REG 3 151 88 13 2 95 16 3 139
REG 4 163 95 24 1 118 19 0 148
REG 5 53 36 8 0 31 4 3 57
REG 6 52 19 6 1 21 4 0 48
REG 7 84 41 2 2 49 2 1 73
REG 8 14 9 3 0 11 0 1 16
REG 9 19 21 5 0 16 2 0 27
REG 10 33 43 5 0 46 2 2 30
REG 11 74 57 8 1 52 6 9 77
REG 12 19 7 2 1 13 3 0 14
TOTAL 930 609 125 11 662 73 21 917
GUARDIANSHIP NCR 137 109 3 4 104 1 6 143
REG 1 14 12 0 3 20 1 1 11
REG 2 8 0 0 0 2 0 0 6
REG 3 34 32 1 0 31 1 0 33
REG 4 50 50 1 4 39 0 11 47
REG 5 11 22 0 0 18 0 0 14
REG 6 27 19 1 0 10 0 1 29
REG 7 27 20 0 4 20 0 1 32
REG 8 3 3 0 0 4 0 0 2
REG 9 11 4 1 0 8 1 2 6
REG 10 13 10 3 0 11 0 0 18
REG 11 13 21 2 3 21 0 1 19
REG 12 3 2 0 0 1 0 0 4
TOTAL 351 304 12 18 289 4 23 364
CUSTODY OF MINOR NCR 141 66 2 4 87 2 5 118
REG 1 36 19 1 2 19 0 2 28
REG 2 3 1 1 0 2 0 0 3
REG 3 48 25 3 1 27 0 4 38
REG 4 43 27 0 1 29 0 2 44
REG 5 10 12 0 0 11 0 1 12
REG 6 21 8 0 1 9 0 1 20
REG 7 34 15 0 9 23 0 3 32
REG 8 5 1 0 0 2 0 0 4
REG 9 16 2 0 0 4 1 0 9
REG 10 6 10 0 0 6 1 0 12
REG 11 12 12 0 3 13 0 3 13
REG 12 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
TOTAL 376 198 7 21 233 4 21 333
PETITION FOR PROTECTION ORDER NCR 133 56 3 7 94 2 5 100
REG 1 5 5 0 0 5 0 0 6
REG 2 3 12 0 0 7 0 0 8
REG 3 22 17 0 0 15 0 1 24
REG 4 19 9 0 1 13 0 1 11
REG 5 19 26 0 1 29 0 1 15
REG 6 42 13 0 1 13 0 3 35
REG 7 39 31 2 1 33 0 2 41
REG 8 46 14 0 0 32 0 0 28
REG 9 18 6 0 0 12 6 0 6
REG 10 14 15 1 1 19 0 0 13
REG 11 26 20 0 1 32 0 1 22
REG 12 12 5 0 0 5 0 0 6
TOTAL 398 229 6 13 309 8 14 315
LEGAL SEPARATION NCR 40 24 0 0 28 0 1 38
REG 1 9 3 0 2 7 0 1 9
REG 2 17 3 0 0 5 0 0 15
REG 3 27 7 0 1 10 0 1 24
REG 4 23 3 3 0 23 1 0 14
REG 5 15 2 1 0 5 0 0 12
REG 6 16 5 1 0 6 1 0 15
REG 7 27 2 3 0 12 2 0 19
REG 8 8 2 0 0 4 0 0 6
REG 9 7 2 0 0 1 0 0 4
REG 10 12 5 2 0 6 0 0 14
REG 11 14 4 0 1 10 0 1 6
REG 12 9 23 0 0 0 0 0 31
TOTAL 224 85 10 4 117 4 4 207
OTHER FAMILY COURT CASES NCR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
REG 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 10 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 0
REG 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
REG 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 4 0 0 0 4 0 0 0
GRAND TOTAL 99,846 55,479 6,799 4,236 53,751 8,452 3,705 99,414

 

2022 CASEFLOW OF THE DESIGNATED AND STATUTORY FAMILY COURTS
REGION NUMBER OF PENDING CASES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2021 CASE INFLOW CASE OUTFLOW NUMBER OF PENDING CASES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2022
NUMBER OF NEW CASES FILED/RAFFLED NUMBER OF CASES REVIVED NUMBER OF CASES RECEIVED FROM OTHER COURTS/STATION NUMBER OF CASES DECIDED/RESOLVED NUMBER OF CASES ARCHIVED NUMBER OF CASES TRANSFERRED TO OTHER COURTS/STATION
DESIGNATED AND STATUTORY
FAMILY COURTS
NCR 15,185 10,229 1,606 526 10,041 2,131 347 15,072
REG 1 4,755 2,657 483 255 3,117 356 985 3,724
REG 2 1,973 1,015 164 4 719 31 5 2,398
REG 3 13,184 6,385 737 307 7,534 779 272 11,905
REG 4 9,012 6,317 867 684 5,592 1,233 430 9,590
REG 5 3,848 2,499 383 530 2,387 516 146 4,507
REG 6 3,444 1,443 224 57 1,521 230 77 3,344
REG 7 4,982 2,919 234 1,238 3,108 475 196 5,607
REG 8 963 505 26 13 499 35 5 961
REG 9 2,919 733 133 8 544 135 76 2,409
REG 10 2,611 1,734 137 125 1,820 248 64 2,500
REG 11 3,113 3,792 269 634 3,245 567 454 3,606
REG 12 1,365 515 37 6 350 67 2 1,472
TOTAL 67,354 40,743 5,300 4,387 40,477 6,803 3,059 67,095

 

NUMBER OF PENDING CASES INVOLVING WOMEN AND CHILDRED HANDLED BY FEMALE PRESIDING JUDGES
AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2022
  NUMBER OF FEMALE JUDGES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (R.A. 9262) RAPE CASES (R.A. 8353) RAPE (WITH MINOR VICTIM AND/OR ACCUSED) HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES (R.A. 9208) HUMAN TRAFFICKING (INVOLVING MINORS) DRUGS CASES (INVOLVING MINORS) CHILD ABUSE (R.A. 7610) ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS ALL OTHER CHILD AND FAMILY CASES (CRIMINAL CASES)
NCJR 160 1,058 292 1,429 67 153 332 1,802 0 0
REGION 1 35 135 110 351 10 6 10 319 0 27
REGION 2 5 54 30 83 4 0 1 43 0 31
REGION 3 64 1,069 383 2,338 55 94 190 2,302 0 0
REGION 4 83 869 1,028 2,044 94 62 188 1,590 0 49
REGION 5 21 121 181 685 6 1 12 507 0 0
REGION 6 33 267 487 407 16 14 43 532 0 12
REGION 7 37 428 290 606 16 18 106 727 0 14
REGION 8 13 102 206 297 14 18 2 281 0 3
REGION 9 11 10 25 28 12 1 0 18 0 3
REGION 10 15 34 367 121 16 5 1 109 0 48
REGION 11 36 103 376 449 18 10 41 266 0 52
REGION 12 7 34 58 23 0 0 10 13 0 0
TOTAL 520 4,284 3,833 8,861 328 382 936 8,509 0 239

Note: Cases handled by the Acting Presiding Judges and Assisting Judges are not included in the report.

NUMBER OF PENDING CASES INVOLVING WOMEN AND CHILDRED HANDLED BY MALE PRESIDING JUDGES
AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2022
  NUMBER OF MALE JUDGES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (R.A. 9262) RAPE CASES (R.A. 8353) RAPE (WITH MINOR VICTIM AND/OR ACCUSED) HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES (R.A. 9208) HUMAN TRAFFICKING (INVOLVING MINORS) DRUGS CASES (INVOLVING MINORS) CHILD ABUSE (R.A. 7610) ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS ALL OTHER CHILD AND FAMILY CASES (CRIMINAL CASES)
NCJR 109 770 251 1,010 38 120 407 1,169 0 0
REGION 1 40 185 434 573 28 9 13 339 0 40
REGION 2 18 304 290 500 14 16 26 402 0 27
REGION 3 50 257 347 512 40 22 46 350 0 40
REGION 4 62 357 1,620 1,328 97 26 55 654 0 262
REGION 5 35 334 210 934 7 14 7 728 0 30
REGION 6 32 236 685 401 7 18 32 498 0 15
REGION 7 54 286 543 400 33 24 47 556 0 21
REGION 8 19 75 205 238 6 12 6 242 0 11
REGION 9 21 105 104 285 6 19 79 243 0 5
REGION 10 18 236 197 574 12 5 33 488 0 86
REGION 11 26 175 462 374 15 6 79 448 0 14
REGION 12 9 53 305 151 3 0 3 105 0 5
TOTAL 493 3,373 5,653 7,280 306 291 833 6,222 0 556

Note: Cases handled by the Acting Presiding Judges and Assisting Judges are not included in the report.

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Privacy Notice for the Supreme Court website

Statement of Commitment to Data Privacy and Security

The Supreme Court of the Philippines respects your privacy and your data privacy rights, as well as employs reasonable measures to protect your personal data in accordance with Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA), its Implementing Rules and Regulations, and the various issuances of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) (collectively, the Data Privacy Regulations).

Brief Service Description and Its General Purpose

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The Supreme Court website, other than the Email Form (see separate Privacy Notice – Email Form), does not collect personal data or cookies. The following non-personal identification information, however, are collected and stored by WordPress Statistics, a third-party service, to enable the Supreme Court to monitor the website’s performance through its engagement with visitors:

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(c) Internet Protocol address.

The information collected by WordPress Statistics are limited to the foregoing.

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The foregoing information, which are encrypted, shall be captured, stored, and retrieved by the Supreme Court through the third-party server, WordPress Statistics, solely for the specific purposes stated in this Privacy Notice, i.e., for reference in helping the Supreme Court in effectively managing its website. The data shall be processed and stored with utmost security and confidentiality.

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The collected information shall be stored in the Supreme Court website database. The Public Information Office (PIO) directly administers and maintains the database and the Supreme Court website. Only the PIO website administrators and authorized personnel shall be granted access to the database of the Supreme Court website. Sharing of any information that are contained in the said database with unauthorized persons is strictly prohibited.

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This Privacy Notice was last updated on February 20, 2024.

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JUDICIARY’S DATA PROTECTION OFFICER
Supreme Court of the Philippines
Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila
Philippines 1000
+63 3 8552 9566
dataprivacy.sc@judiciary.gov.ph

1987Constitution

The Supreme Court Under
the 1987 Constitution

As in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution provides that “[t]he judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” (Art. VII, Sec. 1). The exercise of judicial power is shared by the Supreme Court with all lower courts, but it is only the Supreme Court’s decisions that are vested with precedential value or doctrinal authority, as its interpretations of the Constitution and the laws are final and beyond review by any other branch of government.

Unlike the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, however, the 1987 Constitution defines the concept of judicial power. Under paragraph 2 of Section 1, Article VIII, “judicial power” includes not only the “duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable” but also “to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.” This latter provision dilutes the effectivity of the “political question” doctrine which places specific questions best submitted to the political wisdom of the people beyond the review of the courts.

Building on previous experiences under former Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution provides for specific safeguards to ensure the independence of the Judiciary. These are found in the following provisions:

    • The grant to the Judiciary of fiscal autonomy. “Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year, and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.” (Art. VIII, Sec. 3).
    • The grant to the Chief Justice of authority to augment any item in the general appropriation law for the Judiciary from savings in other items of said appropriation as authorized by law. (Art. VI, Sec. 25[5])
    • The removal from Congress of the power to deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 of Article VIII.
    • The grant to the Court of the power to appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law (Art. VIII, Sec. 5 [6])
    • The removal from the Commission of Appointments of the power to confirm appointments of justices and judges (Art. VIII, Sec. 8)
    • The removal from Congress of the power to reduce the compensation or salaries of the Justices and judges during their continuance in office. (Art. VIII, Sec. 10)
    • The prohibition against the removal of judges through legislative reorganization by providing that “(n)o law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its members. (Art. VIII, Sec. 2)
    • The grant of sole authority to the Supreme Court to order the temporary detail of judges. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[3])
    • The grant of sole authority to the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of procedure for the courts. (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5])
    • The prohibition against designating members of the Judiciary to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative function. (Art. VIII, Sec. 12)
    • The grant of administrative supervision over the lower courts and its personnel in the Supreme Court. (Art. VIII, Sec. 6)

The Supreme Court under the present Constitution is composed of a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The members of the Court are appointed by the President from a list, prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council, of at least three nominees for every vacancy. This new process is intended to “de-politicize” the courts of justice, ensure the choice of competent judges, and fill existing vacancies without undue delay.

RevolutionaryGovernment

The Supreme Court Under
the Revolutionary Government

Shortly after assuming office as the seventh President of the Republic of the Philippines after the successful People Power Revolution, then President Corazon C. Aquino declared the existence of a revolutionary government under Proclamation No. 1 dated February 25, 1986. Among the more significant portions of this Proclamation was an instruction for “all appointive officials to submit their courtesy resignations beginning with the members of the Supreme Court.” The call was unprecedented, considering the separation of powers that the previous Constitutions had always ordained, but understandable considering the revolutionary nature of the post-People Power government. Heeding the call, the members of the Judiciary—from the Supreme Court to the Municipal Circuit Courts—placed their offices at the disposal of the President and submitted their resignations. President Corazon C, Aquino proceeded to reorganize the entire Court, appointing all 15 members.

On March 25, 1986, President Corazon Aquino, through Proclamation No. 3, also abolished the 1973 Constitution and put in place a Provisional “Freedom” Constitution. Under Article I, Section 2 of the Freedom Constitution, the provisions of the 1973 Constitution on the judiciary were adopted insofar as they were not inconsistent with Proclamation No. 3.

Article V of Proclamation No. 3 provided for the convening of a Constitutional Commission composed of 50 appointive members to draft a new constitution; this would be implemented by Proclamation No. 9. Under the leadership of retired SC Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma as its President, the Constitutional Commission of 1986 submitted its output of to the people for ratification.

By a vote of 76.30%, the Filipino people then ratified the Constitution submitted to them in a national plebiscite on February 2, 1987.

President Aquino, other civilian officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, upon the announcement of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, swore allegiance to the new charter on February 11, 1987 thereby putting an end to the revolutionary government.

1973

The Supreme Court Under
the 1973 Constitution

The declaration of Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081 by former President Ferdinand E, Marcos in 1972 brought about the transition from the 1935 Constitution to the 1973 Constitution. This transition had implications on the Court’s composition and functions.

This period also brought in many legal issues of transcendental importance and consequence. Among these were the legality of the ratification of a new Constitution, the assumption of the totality of government authority by President Marcos, and the power to review the factual basis for a declaration of Martial Law by the Chief Executive, among others. Also writ large during this period was the relationship between the Court and the Chief Executive who, under Amendment No. 6 to the 1973 Constitution, had assumed legislative powers even while an elected legislative body continued to function.

The 1973 Constitution increased the number of the members of the Supreme Court from 11 to 15, with a Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The Justices of the Court were appointed by the President alone, without the consent, approval, or recommendation of any other body or officials.

Ayuntamiento

The Supreme Court of
the Second Republic

Following liberation from the Japanese occupation at the end of the Second World War and the Philippines’ subsequent independence from the United States, Republic Act No. 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948 was enacted. This law grouped together the cases over which the Supreme Court could exercise exclusive jurisdiction for review on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error.

SupremeCourt

The Supreme Court During
the Commonwealth

Following the ratification of the 1935 Philippine Constitution in a plebiscite, the principle of separation of powers was adopted, not by express and specific provision to that effect, but by actual division of powers of the government—executive, legislative, and judicial—in different articles of the 1935 Constitution.

As in the United States, the judicial power was vested by the 1935 Constitution “in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law.” It devolved on the Judiciary to determine whether the acts of the other two departments were in harmony with the fundamental law.

The Court during the Commonwealth was composed of “a Chief Justice and ten Associate Justices, and may sit en banc or in two divisions, unless otherwise provided by law.”

ArellanoCourt

The Establishment of
the Supreme Court of the Philippines

On June 11, 1901, the Second Philippine Commission passed Act No. 136 entitled “An Act Providing for the Organization of Courts in the Philippine Islands” formally establishing the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands and creating Courts of First Instance and Justices of the Peace Courts throughout the land. The judicial organization established by the Act was conceived by the American lawyers in the Philippine Commission, with its basic structures patterned after similar organizations in the United States.

The Supreme Court created under the Act was composed of a Chief Justice and six Judges. Five members of the Court could form a quorum, and the concurrence of at least four members was necessary to pronounce a judgment.

Act No. 136 abolished the Audiencia established under General Order No. 20 and declared that the Supreme Court created by the Act be substituted in its place. This effectively severed any nexus between the present Supreme Court and the Audiencia.

The Anglo-American legal system under which the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands was expected to operate was entirely different from the old Spanish system that Filipinos were familiar with. Adjustments had to be made; hence, the decisions of the Supreme Court during its early years reflected a blend of both the Anglo-American and Spanish systems. The jurisprudence was a gentle transition from the old order to the new.

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The Judicial System During
the American Occupation

After Spain’s defeat in the Spanish-American War in the late 1890s, The subsequent occupation by the Americans of the Philippine Islands paved the way for considerable changes in the control, disposition, and governance of the Islands.

The judicial system established during the regime of the military government functioned as an instrument of the executive—not of the judiciary—as an independent and separate branch of government. Secretary of State John Hay, on May 12, 1899, proposed a plan for a colonial government of the Philippine Islands which would give Filipinos the largest measure of self-government. The plan contemplated an independent judiciary manned by judges chosen from qualified locals and Americans.

On May 29, 1899, General Elwell Stephen Otis, Military Governor for the Philippines, issued General Order No. 20, reestablishing the Audiencia Teritorial de Manila which was to apply Spanish laws and jurisprudence recognized by the American military governor as continuing in force.

The Audiencia was composed of a presiding officer and eight members organized into two divisions: the sala de lo civil or the civil branch, and the sala de lo criminal or the criminal branch.

It was General Otis himself who personally selected the first appointees to the Audiencia. Cayetano L. Arellano was appointed President (equivalent to Chief Justice) of the Court, with Manuel Araullo as president of the sala de lo civil and Raymundo Melliza as president of the salo de lo criminal. Gregorio Araneta and Lt. Col. E.H. Crowder were appointed associate justices of the civil branch while Ambrosio Rianzares, Julio Llorente, Major R.W. Young, and Captain W.E. Brikhimer were designated associate justices of the criminal branch. Thus, the reestablished Audiencia became the first agency of the new insular government where Filipinos were appointed side by side with Americans.

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The Judicial System Under
the Spanish Regime

During the early Spanish occupation, King Philip II established the Real Audiencia de Manila which was given not only judicial but legislative, executive, advisory, and administrative functions as well. Composed of the incumbent governor general as the presidente (presiding officer), four oidores (equivalent to associate justices), an asesor (legal adviser), an alguacil mayor (chief constable), among other officials, the Real Audiencia de Manila was both a trial and appellate court. It had exclusive original, concurrent original, and exclusive appellate jurisdictions.

Initially, the Audiencia was given a non-judicial role in the colonial administration, to deal with unforeseen problems within the territory that arose from time to time—it was given the power to supervise certain phases of ecclesiastical affairs as well as regulatory functions, such as fixing of prices at which merchants could sell their commodities. Likewise, the Audiencia had executive functions, like the allotment of lands to the settlers of newly established pueblos. However, by 1861, the Audiencia had ceased to perform these executive and administrative functions and had been restricted to the administration of justice.

When the Audiencia Territorial de Cebu was established in 1886, the name of the Real Audiencia de Manila was changed to Audiencia Territorial de Manila.

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The Judicial System of the
Pre-Colonization Filipinos

When the Spanish colonizers first arrived in the Philippine archipelago, they found the indigenous Filipinos without any written laws. The laws enforced were mainly derived from customs, usages, and tradition. These laws were believed to be God-given and were orally transmitted from generation to generation.

A remarkable feature of these customs and traditions was that they were found to be very similar to one another notwithstanding that they were observed in widely dispersed islands of the archipelago. There were no judges and lawyers who were trained formally in the law, although there were elders who devoted time to the study of the customs, usages, and traditions of their tribes to qualify them as consultants or advisers on these matters.

The unit of government of the indigenous Filipinos was the barangay, which was a family-based community of 30 to 100 families, occupying a pook (“locality” or “area”) headed by a chieftain called datu who exercised all functions of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—a barangay was not only a political but a social and an economic organization. In the exercise of his judicial authority, the datu acted as a judge (hukom) in settling disputes and deciding cases in his barangay.