Today is Sunday, September 23, 2018

Recent Amendments on Injunction

By J. Martin S. Villarama, Jr.

Injunctive reliefs have always been a significant aspect of the appeal process. Injunction is essentially a preservative remedy for the protection of substantive right or interests, granted only in exceptionally meritorious cases when the court is convinced that the strict requirements of the law are satisfied. Dubbed the "strong arm of the court," the exercise of this power demands extreme caution, deliberation and sound discretion on the part of the issuing judge.

Under the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, the CA had original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, injunction, certiorari, habeas corpus and all other auxiliary writs and processes only when such writs were "in aid of its appellate jurisdiction." Subsequently, under Sec. 9 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, the Intermediate Appellate Court is now vested with jurisdiction to issue said writs whether or not these are "in aid of its appellate jurisdiction." The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, empowers the court in which a petition for certiorari is filed to grant a TRO or preliminary injunction to expedite proceedings and solely for the preservation of the rights of the parties pending such proceedings. (Sec. 7, Rule 65)

On December 4, 2007, the Supreme Court En Banc promulgated A.M. No. 07-7- 12-SC amending Rules 41, 45 58 and 65 of the Rules of Court, which became effective on December 27, 2007. Sec. 5, Rule 58, now sets a time limit for deciding the main case or petition where preliminary injunction was issued, thus:

"SEC. 5. Preliminary injunction not granted without notice. --

"x x x

However, if issued by the Court of Appeals or a member thereof, the temporary restraining order shall be effective for sixty (60) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined. A restraining order issued by the Supreme Court or a member thereof shall be effective until further orders.

"The trial court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan or the Court of Tax Appeals that issued a writ of preliminary injunction against a lower court, board, officer, or quasi-judicial agency shall decide the main case or petition within six (6) months from the issuance of the writ."

The amendment came at a time when the CA station in Cebu was the focus of unflattering media reports. And yet, it cannot also be denied that the CA has taken great strides in reducing its backlog of pending cases. The sixty (60)-day time limit now in force, is indeed a welcome development. Not only would it help the CA in speeding up resolution of cases where injunctive reliefs were adjudged to be justified, it will also lessen the possibility of delay for parties before this Court already burdened with increased legal fees and other incidental expenses, not to mention the untold anxiety of a protracted litigation. Verily, our goal of "swift and inexpensive justice" has now become even more reachable for the hardworking and dedicated CA justices and employees.

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