SC designates special courts to handle election protests in 2016

By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, Sept. 30 (PNA) — The Supreme Court (SC) has designated special courts which will handle the election protests in the municipalities in connection with the forthcoming elections next year.

In the Sept. 24, 2015 Administrative Order, the Supreme Court designated more than 100 special courts in the 13 regions in the country, including the National Capital Region (NCR), to handle election protests.

The administrative order was signed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.

Under the Rules of Procedure for Municipal Election Contests, the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) have the exclusive and original jurisdiction over all the election contests involving municipal officials.

Based on the order of the SC, the special courts are mandated to prioritize the elections cases over the other cases, except on petitions for writ of habeas corpus, amparo and habeas data.

According to the SC, it is necessary to issue an order for the designation of the said special courts such that some municipalities have already been converted into being cities and they also have their own newly-created RTCs. (PNA)