Special courts ‘strongly reminded’ to follow time limit in deciding commercial cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — The Office of the Court Administrator has "strongly reminded" courts handling commercial cases to follow the time limit set for deciding them.

Court Administrator Midas Marquez issued the directive in a circular dated July 27, citing a letter from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that noted the delay in the resolution of various commercial cases.

These include rehabilitation, insolvency and liquidation cases, according to Dominguez. He cited in particular the Land Bank of the Philippines, a creditor-party in numerous rehabilitation and insolvency proceedings where he felt there seems to be a "questionable trend of unwarranted delay/circumvention of court proceedings.”

The Finance secretary said this suggests some case proceedings could have been “deliberately delayed,” noting these have been pending for over a year “without any approved rehabilitation plans.”

With this, Marquez said courts must have a maximum one-year period from the petition’s filing to confirm a rehabilitation plan pursuant to Sec. 72 of the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act of 2010.

The circular also enjoined judges to “remain in full control of proceedings in (their sala) and should adopt a firm policy against improvident postponement.”

Failure to decide cases and other matters “within the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency,” read the issuance, adding this “warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions against the erring magistrate.”