To streamline and expedite litigation process, the Supreme Court of the Philippines issued amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Revised Rules of Evidence to take effect starting May 1, 2020. The new rules will apply to newly-filed cases after May 1, 2020 and to those already pending as of the effectivity date as the courts deem appropriate.
Some of the notable changes include the admissibility of duplicates as original documents subject to exceptions, the requirement of the inclusion of evidence upon filing in support of a party’s Complaint or Answer, and the expansion of the certification of a counsel’s signature in the pleadings. Courts may now authorize party complainants to serve summonses to defendants, and service of summonses may now be done through electronic mail with the courts’ permission as circumstances require. Counsels entering special appearances to question the validity of summons may now be deputized by the courts to serve summons to his or her own client.
Another important amendment to the rules pertains to limiting the allowable grounds for Motions to Dismiss, and must be resolved by the court within 15 calendar days. Other grounds for dismissal must be pleaded as affirmative defense in the Answer which the court needs to resolve within 30 calendar days. Moreover, the Revised Rules now define litigious and non-litigious motions, and sets their corresponding rules. Motions for Extensions will no longer be allowed, among others, save for very limited exceptions.
Electronic service and filing are now allowed, provided upon permission of the court and where the court is equipped to handle such filings. New periods are also provided in filing responsive pleadings.
New provisions on Pre-Trial, Court-Annexed Mediation, Judicial Dispute Resolution are also included. The court can, under the Revised Rules makes its own determination as to whether or not to render judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment and to appeal such determination to the Court of Appeals is not allowed.
Click here to view the full Revised Rules on Procedure: https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/9284/ and https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/12763/