By: Domingo Angelo F. Cayosa

In October 2019, the Supreme Court approved the “2019 Proposed Amendments to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure” and the “2019 Proposed Amendments to the Revised Rules on Evidence”.  Both will take effect on May 1, 2020. These amendments are intended to conclude a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of cases that will decongest the courts.

True to its support for the speedier administration of justice, Fortun Narvasa & Salazar (FNS) conducted part one of its webinar series on April 27, 2020. This webinar intends to guide practicing lawyers as well as guide aspiring lawyers who plan to take the 2020 bar examinations to changes in the new Rules.

Part one of this webinar series covered the 2019 Amendments to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. FNS Associates Andrei Kristoffer G. Macandog and Bounteous M. Servito discussed changes to the rules that include: (a) parties must be ready to submit evidence upon filing of the complaint or answer – it is now required that judicial affidavits of witnesses be attached when the complaint is filed. For the defendant, judicial affidavits of his or her witnesses should then be attached to the answer, (b) counsel’s certification for signing a pleading was expanded – the new rules impose appropriate sanctions or proper disciplinary action, on motion after notice and hearing, on any attorney, law firm, or party who violates this certification, (c) new periods to be observed in filing responsive pleadings – Rule 11 has been substantially amended, (d) modes of filing pleadings, judgments and other papers upgraded – there are now four modes of filing, (e) methods to serve summons on a defendant – upon ex-parte motion and authorization from the court the plaintiff may now serve summons on the defendant, (f) motions to dismiss are generally not allowed save for certain exceptions – the provisions under Rule 16 have been either deleted or transposed. There is no more Rule 16, (g) shorter period to resolve grounds for dismissal, (h) motions to prevent delays in the proceedings – motions are now categorized as a non-litigious motion or litigious motion. Hearings on motions are now discretionary upon the court, (i) electronic service and filing allowed – for electronic service, it is complete at the time of electronic transmission of the document, or if available, at the time the electronic notification of service of document is sent. In filing by electronic means, the date of filing is the date of electronic transmission, (j) changes in pre-trial, court-annexed mediation and judicial dispute resolution processes, and (k) judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment –  any action of the court on a motion for judgment on the pleadings or a motion for summary judgment shall not be subject to appeal or petition for certiorari, prohibition, or mandamus.

Part two of the webinar series, which covers the 2019 Proposed Amendments to the Revised Rules on Evidence, will be conducted on April 28, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. with FNS Associates Michelle Ann Rose S.L. Angeles and Harradier P. Isnani as speakers.

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