LEGAL NOTE 0138:  JUDICIAL COURTESY

 

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE PRECEPT OF JUDICIAL COURTESY?

 

IT MEANS THAT EVEN IF THERE IS NO WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION OR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER ISSUED BY A HIGHER COURT, IT WOULD BE PROPER FOR A LOWER COURT OR COURT OF ORIGIN TO SUSPEND ITS PROCEEDINGS IN VIEW OF A PENDING APPEAL OR PETITION FOR REVIEW  IN A HIGHER COURT.

 

CITE AN EARLIER CASE WHEN THE PRECEPT OF JUDICIAL COURTESY WAS APPLIED?

 

AS EARLY AS 1988 IN THE CASE OF ETERNAL GARDENS MEMORIAL PARK VS. COURT OF APPEALS ET AL (G.R. NO. L-50054, 17 AUGUST 1988) THE SUPREME COURT HAS APPLIED SUCH DOCTRINE.  IN THAT CASE THE COURT OF APPEALS PROCEEDED TO ACT ON CERTAIN INCIDENCES DESPITE THE  PENDENCY OF A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI PENDING BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT. THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT WHILE SC HAS NOT ISSUED A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST CA TO PREVENT IT FROM TAKING ANY ACTION WITH REGARDS TO ITS RESOLUTIONS IT SHOULD HAVE REFRAINED FROM RULING THEREON BECAUSE BY DOING SO IT RENDERS MOOT WHAT WAS BEFORE THE SC. SAID THE COURT:

 

“Although this Court did not issue any restraining order against the Intermediate Appellate Court to prevent it from taking any action with regard to its resolutions respectively granting respondents’ motion to expunge from the records the petitioner’s motion to dismiss and denying the latter’s motion to reconsider such order, upon learning of the petition, the appellate court should have refrained from ruling thereon because its jurisdiction was necessarily limited upon the filing of a petition for certiorari with this Court questioning the propriety of the issuance of the above-mentioned resolutions. Due respect for the Supreme Court and practical and ethical considerations should have prompted the appellate court to wait for the final determination of the petition before taking cognizance of the case and trying to render moot exactly what was before this court.. . . (UNDERSCORING SUPPLIED.)


WHAT IS THE GENERAL RULE ON STAYING PROCEEDINGS IN THE LOWER COURTS?

 

SECTION 7 OF RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT PROVIDES THE GENERAL RULE THAT THE MERE PENDENCY OF A SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION FOR CERTIORARI COMMENCED IN RELATION TO A CASE PENDING BEFORE A LOWER COURT OR COURT OF ORIGIN DOES NOT STAY THE PROCEEDINGS THEREIN IN THE ABSENCE OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION OR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER.

 

IS THERE AN EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE?

 

YES,  IN CASE THE PRECEPT OF JUDICIAL COURTESY APPLIES.  IN THE CASE OF REPUBLIC VS. SANDIGANBAYAN ET AL. (G.R. NO. 166859, 26 JUNE 2006) THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT EVEN IF THERE IS NO WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION OR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER ISSUED BY A HIGHER COURT IT IS PROPER FOR THE LOWER COURT TO SUSPEND PROCEEDINGS ON THE PRECEPT OF JUDICIAL COURTESY DESPITE THE PROVISION OF SECTION 7 OF RULE 65. SAID THE COURT:

 

The earlier quoted Section 7 of Rule 65 provides the general rule that the mere pendency of a special civil action for Certiorari commenced in relation to a case pending before a lower court or court of origin does not stay the proceedings therein in the absence of a writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order.[4] 

 

There are of course instances where even if there is no writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order issued by a higher court, it would be proper for a lower court or court of origin to suspend its proceedings on the precept of judicial courtesy.    As this Court explained in Eternal Gardens Memorial Park v. Court of Appeals:[5]

 

………………………..

 

This Court explained, however, that the rule on “judicial courtesy” applies where “there is a strong probability that the issues before the higher court would be rendered moot and moribund as a result of the continuation of the proceedings in the lower court [or court of origin]”.[6]  (UNDERSCORING SUPPLIED.)

 

WHEN DOES THE RULE ON JUDICIAL COURTESY APPLIES?

 

WHERE “THERE IS A STRONG PROBABILITY THAT THE ISSUES BEFORE THE HIGHER COURT WOULD BE RENDERED MOOT AND MORIBUND AS A RESULT OF THE CONTINUATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN THE LOWER COURT [OR COURT OF ORIGIN]”.  (UNDERSCORING SUPPLIED.)

 

DOES IT APPLY ALSO TO LABOR  CASES?

 

YES. EVEN IN LABOR CASES WHERE DECISIONS ARE IMMEDIATELY FINAL AND EXECUTORY,  JUDICIAL COURTESY WAS CONSIDERED   APPLICABLE. IN  MILAGROS PANUNCILLO, PETITIONER, VERSUS CAP PHILIPPINES, INC., RESPONDENT (G.R. NO. 161305, 09 FEBRUARY 2007) A  PETITION FOR REVIEW WAS FILED AT THE CA QUESTIONING THE NLRC DECISION WHICH UPHELD THE DISMISSAL OF AN EMPLOYER. THE LABOR ARBITER DID NOT ISSUE A WRIT OF EXECUTION BECAUSE OF THE PENDING PETITION FOR REVIEW. THE SUPREME COURT APPROVED THE ACTION OF THE LABOR ARBITER AND RULED THAT IT IS AS IF A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER WAS ISSUED. SAID THE COURT:

 

“If a Labor Arbiter does not issue a writ of execution of the NLRC order for the reinstatement of an employee even if there is no restraining order, he could probably be merely observing judicial courtesy, which is advisable “if there is a strong probability that the issues before the higher court would be rendered moot and moribund as a result of the continuation of the proceedings in the lower court.”[34]  In such a case, it is as if a temporary restraining order was issued . . .” (UNDERSCORING SUPPLIED.)

 

TO WHAT CATEGORY OF COURT DOES THE RULE ON JUDICIAL COURTESY  APPLIES?

 

IT IS BASED ON THE HIERARCHY OF COURTS AND APPLIES ONLY TO LOWER COURTS IN INSTANCES WHERE, EVEN IF THERE IS NO WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION OR TRO ISSUED BY A HIGHER COURT, IT WOULD BE PROPER FOR A LOWER COURT TO SUSPEND ITS PROCEEDINGS FOR PRACTICAL AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS.[35] IN OTHER WORDS, THE PRINCIPLE OF “JUDICIAL COURTESY” APPLIES WHERE THERE IS A STRONG PROBABILITY THAT THE ISSUES BEFORE THE HIGHER COURT WOULD BE RENDERED MOOT AND MORIBUND AS A RESULT OF THE CONTINUATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN THE LOWER COURT OR COURT OF ORIGIN.[36]” (UNDERSCORING SUPPLIED).

 

AS RULED IN DATU MICHAEL ABAS KIDA ET AL. VS. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL. (G.R. NO. 196271, 28 FEBRUARY 2012:

 

“Firstly, the principle of judicial courtesy is based on the hierarchy of courts and applies only to lower courts in instances where, even if there is no writ of preliminary injunction or TRO issued by a higher court, it would be proper for a lower court to suspend its proceedings for practical and ethical considerations.[35] In other words, the principle of “judicial courtesy” applies where there is a strong probability that the issues before the higher court would be rendered moot and moribund as a result of the continuation of the proceedings in the lower court or court of origin.[36]” (UNDERSCORING SUPPLIED).

 

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