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5. Powers and duties of court and judicial officers


1) Courts always open; justice to be promptly and impartially administered

Courts of justice shall always be open, except on legal holidays, for the filing of any pleading, motion or other papers, for the trial of cases, hearing of motions, and for the issuance of orders or rendition of judgments. Justice shall be impartially administered without unnecessary delay. (Section 1, Rule 135, Ibid.)

2) Publicity of proceedings and records

The sitting of every court of justice shall be public, but any court may, in its discretion, exclude the public when the evidence to be adduced is of such nature as to require their exclusion in the interest of morality or decency. The records of every court of justice shall be public records and shall be available for the inspection of any interested person, at all proper business hours, under the supervision of the clerk having custody of such records, unless the court shall, in any special case, have forbidden their publicity, in the interest of morality or decency. (Section 2, Rule 135, Ibid.)

3) Process of superior courts enforced throughout the Philippines

Process issued from a superior court in which a case is pending to bring in a defendant, or for the arrest of any accused person, or to execute any order or judgment of the court, may be enforced in any part of the Philippines. (Section 3, Rule 135, Ibid.)

4) Process of inferior courts

The process of inferior courts shall be enforceable within the province where the municipality or city lies. It shall not be served outside the boundaries of the province in which they are compromised except with the approval of the judge of first instance of said province, and only in the following cases:

1) When an order for the delivery of personal property lying outside the province is to be complied with;

2) When an attachment of real or personal property lying outside the province is to be made;

3) When the action is against two or more defendants residing in different provinces; and

4) When the place where the case has been brought is specified in a contract in writing between the parties, or is the place of the execution of such contract as appears therefrom. (Section 4, Rule 135, Ibid.)

Writs of execution issued by inferior courts may be enforced in any part of the Philippines without any previous approval of the judge of first instance. (Paragraph 2, Section 4, Rule 135, Ibid.)

Criminal process may be issued by a justice of the peace or other inferior court, to be served outside his province, when the district judge, or in his absence the provincial fiscal, shall certify that in his opinion the interest of justice require such service. (Paragraph 3, Section 4, Rule 135, Ibid.)

5) Inherent powers of court

Every court shall have power:

1) To preserve and enforce order in its immediate presence;

2) To enforce order in proceedings before it, or before a person or persons empowered to conduct a judicial investigation under its authority;

3) To compel obedience to its judgments, orders and processes, and to the lawful orders of a judge out of court, in a case pending therein;

4) To control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a case before it, in every manner appertaining thereto;

5) To compel the attendance of persons to testify in a case pending therein;

6) To administer or cause to be administered oaths in a case pending therein, and in all other cases where it may be necessary in the exercise of its powers;

7) To amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice;

8) To authorize a copy of a lost or destroyed pleading or other paper to be filed and used instead of the original, and to restore, and supply deficiencies in its records and proceedings. (Section 5, Rule 135, Ibid.)

6) Means to carry jurisdiction into effect

When by law jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such court or officer; and if the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out by law or by these rules, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which appears comfortable to the spirit of the said law or rules. (Section 6, Rule 135, Ibid.)

7) Trials and hearings; orders in chambers

All trials upon the merits shall be conducted in open court and so far as convenient in a regular court room. All other acts or proceeding may be done or conducted by a judge in chambers, without the attendance of the clerk or other court officials. (Section 7, Rule 135, Ibid.)

8) Interlocutory orders out of province

A judge of first instance shall have power to hear and determine, when within the district though without his province, any interlocutory motion or issue after due and reasonable notice to the parties. On the filing of a petition for the writ of habeas corpus or for release upon bail or reduction of bail in any Court of First Instance, the hearings may be had at any place in the judicial district which the judge shall deem convenient. (Section 8, Rule 135, Ibid.)

9) Signing judgments out of province

Whenever a judge appointed or assigned in any province or branch of a Court of First Instance in a province shall leave the province by transfer or assignment to another court of equal jurisdiction, or by expiration of his temporary assignment, without having decided a case totally heard by him and which was argued or an opportunity given for argument to the parties or their counsel, it shall be lawful for him to prepare and sign his decision in said case anywhere within the Philippines. He shall send the same by registered mail to the clerk of the court where the case was heard or argued to be filed therein as of the date when the same was received by the clerk, in the same manner as if he had been present in court to direct the filing of the judgment. If a case has been heard only in part, the Supreme Court, upon petition of any of the parties to the case and the recommendation of the respective district judge, may also authorize the judge who has partly heard the case, if no other judge had heard the case in part, to continue hearing and to decide said case notwithstanding his transfer or appointment to another court of equal jurisdiction. (Section 9, Rule 135, Ibid.)

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