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Date of Effectivity and Applicability of the Guidelines

These Guidelines shall take effect on April 16, 2012. The project shall be subject to quarterly reviews by the Committee. At the end of the 6th month from such date of effectivity, the Committee shall prepare a Mid-Term Report on the project for submission to the Supreme Court, and at the end of the 12th month from such date of effectivity, [2] the Committee shall prepare and submit a Final Report on the project to the Supreme Court.
[1]

Pilot Guidelines (verbatim)

Existing Rules and Comments

1. The Guidelines obviously does not apply to all cases in These Guidelines shall apply to all newly filed cases, as Quezon City. The following are covered by the well as pending cases where trial has not started yet, Guidelines: [3] whether or not the pre-trial has been concluded. For pending cases where trial has already commenced, i. All newly filed cases. where the parties consent to the application of the ii. Pending cases where trial has not started yet, Guidelines for the remainder of the case proceedings, the whether or not the pre-trial has been concluded. Guidelines shall be applied by the court to that case as [4] well. iii. When all parties consent to the application of the Guidelines, regardless of whether trial has already commenced in a pending case. 2. The Guidelines is obviously more strict that the existing Rules of Court. There will be more invocations of the legal maxim that cases must be decided on the merits, not on technicalities. A clients is bound by the mistakes of counsel.

Common Guidelines for Criminal and Civil Cases


Unless otherwise provided, these guidelines shall be common to criminal cases and civil cases, including special proceedings and land registration cases.

Limitation on Pleadings
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

Parties may file pleadings subsequent to 1. The consequence of failure to comply with the the complaint, answer and reply, regarding any incident in requirements of font-size, number of pages and spacing a pending case, only upon prior leave of court, and in no is not clearly provided. It is not clear whether the pleading case to exceed 40 pages in length, double-spaced, using

size 14 font.

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will be expunged from the record of the case. 2. If the purpose of requiring a size 14 font is to make the pleading readable, it might not be achieved when using certain fonts. For instance, a 40-page pleading using Arial size 14 would only be 33 pages using Arial Narrow. 3. From the way this is worded, it does NOT apply to the answer, complaint and reply, which means that the complaint could be using size 12 font which will lead to .

Motions
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments 1. The existing rules, particularly Rule 15 (Motions) of the Rules of Court, specify the requirements of amotion, but does not explicitly provide the effect of noncompliance with such requirements. 2. Nevertheless, jurisprudence consistently holds that a defective motion is nothing but a piece of paper filed with the court. It presents no question which the court could decide. The court had no right to consider it, nor had the clerk any right to receive it without a compliance with the Courts shall require only a comment or opposition to any motion, which shall be filed within an inextendible period of 5 days. Thereafter, the motion shall be submitted for resolution by the court. Unless allowed, the filing of a reply, rejoinder, or sur-rejoinder is hereby prohibited.
[7]

Motions that do not conform with the requirements of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court are scraps of paper that do not merit the court's consideration. The branch clerk of court shall inform the judge of noncompliant motions. The court shall then immediately issue a final order declaring the motion a mere scrap of paper unworthy of any further court action, without necessity of a hearing or comment from theadverse [6] party.

requirements.

[8]

3. The Rules of Court, however, does not explicitly provide that the court can motu propio or, on its own, dismiss a defective motion without any motion from the adverse party. It is common, in fact, for a hearing to be scheduled and for the adverse party to specify in its comment/opposition that the motion is a mere scrap of paper for non-compliance with the requirements under Rule 15. 4. The Guidelines now explicitly authorizes the court to dismiss motu propio a defective motion. One possible ramification of the pilot rule is the render the clerk of court or the responsible judicial officer to administrative liability for failing to dismiss motu propio a defective motion. This

potential liability should compel compliance with this requirement under the Guidelines. 5. The existing Rules of Court does not specify the number of days for a comment/opposition to be filed, and 10-15 days for the filing thereof is not uncommon. It is not clear, however, if the phrase "shall require only a comment or opposition to any motion" means that a hearing is dispensed with. It could also mean that a hearing is still required, except that, as a rule, only a comment/opposition may be filed and the movant can no longer file a reply.

Notice and service of processes through private couriers


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

1. There is no presumptive notice provided under the There shall be presumptive notice to a party of existing Rules of Court. a court setting if such notice appears on the record to have been mailed at least 20 days prior to the scheduled 2. The existing Rules of Court also does not provide for date of hearing if the addressee is from within theNational service by private courier. Capital Region, or at least 30 days if the addressee is [9] from outside the National Capital Region. A party may opt to avail of private couriers for the service of pleadings, motions and other submissions.Proof of service in such case shall either be a sworn certification or affidavit of service from the courier specifically referring to the date of service and the corresponding tracking number for the mail matter.
[10]

Postponements
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments 1. The waiver of testimony of an absent witness can only be done if there is a fixed date/schedule for all witnesses identified during the pre-trial conference. 2. A hostile witness who refuses to attend would benefit

Judges shall not grant any postponement except for acts [11] of God or force majeure. No motion for postponement, whether written or oral, shall

be acted upon by the court unless accompanied by the original official receipt from the Office of the Clerk of Court of Quezon City evidencing payment of the postponement fee.
[12]

from the waiver of his testimony. 3. Postponements by agreement of the parties/counsels are no longer allowed.

In either case, if the scheduled hearing is unable to proceed due to such absence, the court shall require the absent counsel and/or party to pay the expenses of the present party or witness for appearing in court on that date.
[13]

Postponement in Civil Cases In civil cases, in the absence of counsel, the court shall proceed with the hearing ex parte with no right tocrossexamination. If it is the witness who is absent, the presentation of such witness shall be declared waived. Postponement in Criminal Cases In criminal cases, in the absence of counsel de parte, the hearing shall proceed upon appointment by thecourt of a counsel de oficio. If it is the witness who is absent, the presentation of such witness shall be declared waived.
[15] [14]

Calendar call
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

Courts shall call the calendar at exactly 8:30 a.m. or 2:00 p.m., as the case may be, to determine which cases are ready to proceed. No second call shall be made except only of those cases where both parties have manifested their readiness to proceed. The remaining time after the first call shall be divided equally among the ready cases [16] to ensure that all will be heard on that day.

The purpose of prohibiting second calls is to expedite the entire proceeding and save time. To be fair to practitioners and to fully implement the intent of this rule, it should also include a provision on court staff and judges who arrive late.

Oral offer of evidence


Pilot Guidelines Existing Rules and Comments

The offer of evidence, the comment thereon, and the court ruling shall be made orally. A party is required to make his oral offer of evidence on the same as the presentation of his last witness, and the opposing party is required to immediately interpose his objection thereto. Thereafter, the judge shall make the ruling on the offer of [17] evidence in open court. In making the offer, the counsel shall cite the specific page numbers of the court record where the exhibits being offered are found if attached thereto. The court shall always ensure that all exhibits offered are submitted to the court on the same day.
[18]

1. The Rules of Court provides that "the court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally [20] offered." Failure to make a formal offer of evidence is deemed a waiver of the covered evidence. 2. Under A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC, each party is required to make his formal offer of evidence after the presentation of his last witness and the opposing party is required to immediately interpose his objectionthereto. Thereafter the judge shall make the ruling on the offer of evidence in open court. However, the judge has the discretion to allow the offer of evidence in writing in conformity with Section 35, Rule 132.
[21]

If the exhibits are not attached to the record, the party making the offer must submit the same during theoffer of evidence in open court.
[19]

3. Based on jurisprudence, a written offer of evidence can only be tolerated under Sec. 35 of Rule 132 in extreme cases where the object evidence or documents are large in numbersay from 100 and above, and only where there is unusual difficulty in preparing the offer. Moreover, the party asking for such concession should however file a motion, pay the filing fee, set the date of the hearing not later than 10 days after the filing of the motion,
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and

serve it on the address of the party at least three (3) days before the hearing.
[23]

In short, it is a litigated motion and


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cannot be done ex parte.

4. The Guidelines goes a step further -- it makes absolute the necessity of an oral offer of evidence by removing the court's discretion to allow a written offer of evidence. The removal of such discretion, while commendable in its intent to expedite the proceedings, may cause delays in cases involving voluminous documents. Other cases in the calendar may be prejudiced, or, considering the equal time allotted to each case under Par. A.5 (Calendar Call), the case will have to be reset for further oral offer of testimony.

Lack of Transcripts of stenographic notes

Pilot Guidelines (verbatim)

Existing Rules and Comments

Incomplete or missing transcripts of stenographic notes is not a valid reason to interrupt or suspend the mandatory period for deciding a case. Judges who conducted the trial in a case and heard thetestimonies of some or all of the witnesses shall not defer the submission of the case for judgment on this ground. In cases where the case was heard completely by another judge, the new judge tasked to write the decision shall be given 60 days from assumption to office to require the completion of transcripts before the case is deemed submitted for [25] decision.

Consolidations
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

Consolidation of cases shall only be allowed if both or all of the cases sought to be consolidated have not yet [26] passed the pretrial or preliminary conference stage. In cases involving multiple accused where a later information is filed involving an accused who was subjected to further investigation by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City, over an incident which has the same subject matter as a prior Information/s against different accused, the later case when filed under cover of a motion for consolidation from the OCP-QC shall no longer be raffled, but shall be assigned directly to the court where the earlier cases are pending. If the earlier cases are already at the trial stage and witnesses have been presented by the prosecution, the prosecution shall be allowed to merely adopt the evidence so far presented against the new accused, subject to the latter's right to cross-examine the said witnesses.
[27]

In civil cases, consolidation shall be granted only if there

is identity of parties and issues in the affected cases.

[28]

Inhibitions
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

Each party shall only be allowed to file one motion for inhibition in any case strictly on grounds provided for [29] under Rule 137 of the Rules of Court.

There is no limit to the number of motions for inhibition that can be filed under the Rules of Court. The apparent change under the Guidelines is to limit each party to one motion for inhibition for the entire case, which means that a party who filed such a motion, even if denied, cannot re-file it against the same judge or file a similar motion against the subsequent judge.

Memoranda
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

After completion of trial, the court shall require the parties to submit their memoranda which shall not exceed 25 pages in length, single-spaced, on legal size paper, using [30] size 14 font.

1. The filing of a memorandum is meant to aid the court in judiciously resolving cases. This provision makes the filing of memorandum mandatory, whereas the Rules of Court leaves the requirement of filing of memorandum upon the discretion of the judge. 2. Section 5, Rule 30 of the Rules of Court provides that upon admission of evidence, the case shall be submitted for decision unless the court directs the parties to argue or to submit their respective memoranda or any further pleadings. Therefore, even in incidents when the court could render a decision without a memorandum, it has no other choice but to prolong the period to decide.

Free legal assistance


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

If a party fails to qualify for the services of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Quezon City Chapter shall provide free legal

1. From the language of the provision, it is immaterial whether a party is an indigent/pauper litigant or not. A party of sufficient means can choose not to have a

assistance to the said party. For this purpose, the IBP-QC counsel de parte, apply with the PAO, and be assured Chapter shall submit to the Executive Judges of the that a counsel de oficio will be provided by the IBP-QC. Quezon City trial courts, a list of IBP-QClawyers who may be appointed by the courts to act as counsel de oficio in such cases. The lists shall be disseminated among all [31] the trial courts in the station.

Guidelines for Civil Cases


Mediation, judicial dispute resolution, preliminary conference as mandatory parts of pre-trial
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

The order setting the case for pre-trial shall also include (a) a referral to the PMC for mandatory mediationproceedings in cases covered by the rule, and/or (b) a setting for judicial dispute resolution, as well as (c) a preliminary conference before the Branch Clerk of Court. The pre-trial proper before the court must take place only after all the foregoing shall have been [32] completed. The court shall strictly impose sanctions for nonappearance during mediation, judicial dispute resolution, and/or preliminary conference before the Branch Clerk as these are mandatory parts of pre-trial.
[33]

Courts must strictly comply with the Guidelines to be Observed in the Conduct of Pre-Trial under A.M. No. 031-09-SC.
[34]

Motions relating to pre-trial matters


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments Under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, in relation to the Omnibus Motion Rule under Section 8, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, the following grounds are not

Motions relating to the following pre-trial matters shall be filed before the scheduled date of pretrial, otherwise they [35] shall be barred: i. Summary judgment and judgment on the

pleadings ii. Amendments to pleadings, including the adding or dropping of parties iii. Suspension of proceedings iv. Dismissals under Rule 16, save for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case (b) The courts must resolve said motions not later than 30 days after submission. Pre-trial proper shall only be conducted after such resolution.
[36]

waived even if not raised in a motion to dismiss or an [[answer] with affirmative defenses: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) litis pendentia; (3)res judicata; and (4) prescription. However, in this case, the rule only recognizes lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter as a ground for dismissal of an action, even when such ground is not raised in amotion filed before pre-trial. Under Section 2 of Rule 16, the judge can, motu propio during the pre-trial, dismiss "the action should a valid ground therefor be found to exist". It would seem that the judge CANNOT dismiss an action, even if there is a clear case of res judicata, prescription or litis pendentia, simply because the party did not file the appropriate motion prior to pre-trial.

Affidavits in lieu of direct testimony


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

The direct examination of all witnesses shall be presented through Affidavits, preferably in question-and-answer format. Paragraphs shall be consecutively numbered for [37] facility of reference. The Affidavits shall take the place of the witness' direct examination and no additional oral direct testimony shall be allowed by the court save for the witness' identification and confirmation of his Affidavit and its marking. The failure to submit such Affidavits on the date they are required to be submitted shall amount to a waiver of such submission and of the presentation of the witness/es concerned.
[38]

The party presenting the Affidavit shall serve a copy of the same on the adverse counsel and the court not later than five days before the scheduled pre-trial. He shall also attach thereto copies of all documents identified and referred to by the witness in the Affidavit which are intended to be marked in evidence.
[39]

Cross-examination shall be conducted immediately after the confirmation of the Affidavit, and thetestimony of the witness shall be completed on the same setting.
[40]

Execution in appealed ejectment cases


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

In ejectment cases brought to the Regional Trial Court on appeal, where the latters decision has already become final and executory, a motion for execution of said decision shall be filed only with and resolved by the Metropolitan Trial Court which originally heard the [41] case.

Guidelines for Criminal Cases


Schedule of arraignment
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments Under Section 2(g) of Rule 116, unless a shorter period is provided by the Supreme Court, the accused must be arraigned within thirty (30) days from the time acquires jurisdiction over the person of theaccused. The Guidelines provides for a shorter period seven (7) days from receipt of the case fordetainees and twenty (20) days in case of non-detainees. Nevertheless, it appears that the arraignment may not proceed as scheduled in the event that the accused intends to plead guilty to a lesser offense and the complainant is not notified.

The arraignment shall be set within seven days from receipt by the court of the case, for detainedaccused, and within 20 days from receipt by the court of the case, for [42] non-detained accused. The court must set the arraignment of the accused in the commitment order, in the case of detained accused, or in the order of approval of bail, in any other case. For this purpose, where the Executive Judges and Pairing

Judges act on bail applications of cases assigned to other courts, they shall coordinate with the courts to which the cases are actually assigned for scheduling purposes.
[43]

Notice of arraignment shall be sent to the private complainant or complaining law enforcement agent for purposes of plea bargaining, pursuant to Rule 116, Section 1 (f) of the Rules of Court.
[44]

Suspension of arraignment
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

Courts shall strictly observe the general rule that there shall be no suspension of arraignment except for any of the three grounds stated in Rule 116, Section 11 of [45] the Rules of Court. In case of suspension of arraignment by reason of a pending petition for review with the DOJ, no court shall allow a suspension beyond 60 days. In granting motions on this ground, the court shall already set the arraignment on the 61st day from the date of filing of the petition with the DOJ, or the nearest available trial date thereafter. A motion for preliminary investigation shall only be
[46]

Suspension of arraignment is allowed in the following instances: i. The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such case, the court shall order his mental examination and, if necessary, his confinement for such purpose; ii. There exists a prejudicial question; and iii. A petition for review of the resolution of the prosecutor is pending at either

granted where the accused was made subject toinquest the Department of Justice, or the Office of the proceedings, pursuant to Rule 112, Section 7 of the Rules of Court.
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President; provided, that the period of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) days

In cases where a motion for preliminary investigation or reinvestigation is granted by the court, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City shall complete the preliminary investigation or re-investigation, as the case may be, and submit its resolution to the court within 60 days from receipt of the order granting the motion for preliminary investigation or re-investigation. Upon lapse of the 60-day period without a resolution on

counted from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office.
[50]

the preliminary investigation or re-investigation, the court shall proceed with the arraignmentof the accused. In the order granting the motion for preliminary investigation or re-investigation, the court shall already set the arraignment of the accused.
[48]

The court shall not allow the deferment of arraignment on ground of absence of counsel de parte for theaccused if a prior postponement for the same reason has been granted and both accused and counsel are duly notified of the arraignment. In such instances, the court shall appoint a counsel de oficio to assist the accused for arraignment purposes only.
[49]

Waiver of reading of the information


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

The court, upon personal examination of the accused, may allow a waiver of the reading of the Informationupon the express understanding and intelligent consent of the accused and his counsel, which consent shall be evidenced in both the minutes/certificate of arraignment and the order of arraignment. The courtshall ensure the accuseds full understanding of the consequences of [51] the waiver before approving the same.

Rule 116 of the Rules of Court requires the Information to be read before the accused shall enter his plea.

Petitions for bail


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

Except in complex cases involving multiple accused and multiple offended parties, an application for bail shall be heard and resolved within 60 days from the date of the first hearing, and consistent with the rules, summary in nature, preferably requiring the submission by the prosecution of the affidavits of its witnesses with right [52] of cross examination by the defense.

In addition to the provisions of Rule 114, the Guidelines expressly requires petitions for bail to be resolved within sixty (60) days from the date of the first hearing, save for cases involving multiple accused.

Pre-trial
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

This provision recognizes the existing practice of holding The court shall schedule the arraignment and pre-trial on the arraignment and pre-trial on the same date. the same date in all cases, except in cases which require mediation and/or judicial dispute resolution. The pre-trial proper in the latter cases must be scheduled immediately upon conclusion of mediation and/or judicial [53] dispute resolution. If the arraignment and pre-trial will be conducted on separate dates, the setting of pre-trial and trial dates must be made during the arraignment.
[54]

The order setting the case for pre-trial shall also include (a) a referral to the PMC for mandatory mediationproceedings in cases covered by the rule, and/or (b) a setting for judicial dispute resolution, as well as (c) a preliminary conference before the Branch Clerk of Court, pursuant to A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC. The pretrial proper before the court must take place only after all the foregoing shall have been completed.
[55]

The court shall proceed with pre-trial despite the absence of the accused and/or private complainantprovided they were duly notified of the same.
[56]

Courts must strictly comply with the Guidelines to be Observed in the Conduct of Pre-Trial under A.M. No. 031-09-SC.
[57]

Affidavits in lieu of direct testimony


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

As a rule, testimony of witnesses in criminal cases shall be given orally in open court, except (a.1) when the parties agree to submit affidavits in lieu of oral testimony;

and (a.2) to prove the civil liability.

[58]

The Affidavits so submitted shall take the place of the witness' direct examination and additional oral direct testimony shall be allowed only upon the court's sound discretion. The failure to submit Affidavits on the date they are required to be submitted shall amount to a waiver of such submission and of the presentation of the witness/es concerned.
[59]

The party presenting the Affidavit shall serve a copy of the same on the adverse counsel and the court not later than five days before the scheduled pre-trial. He shall also attach thereto copies of all documents identified and referred to by the witness in the Affidavit which are intended to be marked in evidence.
[60]

Cross-examination shall be conducted immediately after the confirmation of the Affidavit, and thetestimony of the witness shall be completed on the same setting. Expert testimony shall always be given orally.
[62] [61]

Demurrer and submission of case for decision


Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments 1. Under Section 23 of Rule 119, the court may, motu propio or on its own, dismiss the case the ground of insufficiency of evidence after due notice and hearing. The provision is not reproduced in the Guidelines. It thus appears that courts may no longer dismiss a criminal case motu proprio. 2. Courts in must now inquire whether the accused intends to file a demurrer to evidence or he will no longer present evidence. 3. Under the Rules of Court, the accused has a nonextendible period of five (5) days from the time the prosecution rests its case to move for leave of court to

Once the prosecution rests its case, the court must inquire from the accused whether he will file ademurer to evidence or he will no longer present evidence, and then [63] act accordingly. When the defense rests its case, unless the prosecution expressly moves to present rebuttal evidence, the court shall require the parties to submit their memoranda and in the same order, schedule the date ofpromulgation of the judgment, within the period required by the law or the rules.
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file demurrer to evidence.

Private prosecutors
Pilot Guidelines (verbatim) Existing Rules and Comments

In cases where the civil liability is being prosecuted by a private counsel, a written authority from theOffice of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City in favor of the Private Prosecutor, to try the case even in the absence of the Public Prosecutor, must be submitted to the court no later than the pre-trial stage. With this authority on record, the court may set trial in this case and other cases being tried by Private Prosecutors with delegated authority, on a separate day when the presence of the Public [65] Prosecutor may be dispensed with.

This is a restatement of Rule 110, Section 5, with the addition that the written authority must be submitted no later than the pre-trial stage. However, this does not address the situation when the need for a private prosecutor arises during the trial or if the private prosecutor previously authorized in writing withdraws from the case and another private prosecutor takes over.