REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
MANILA

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF THE PHILIPPINES

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 27

REORGANIZING THE COURT OF APPEALS
AND THE COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE

Pursuant to the powers vested in me by Act No. 10 to effect the changes in the different ministries, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government, and to create new ones or abolish those existing, I, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, do hereby order:

ARTICLE I.—District Courts of Appeals

SECTION 1. The District Courts of Appeals.—There shall be five District Courts of Appeals, to wit: The Court of Appeals of Northern Luzon; the Court of Appeals of Central Luzon; the Court of Appeals of Manila; the Court of Appeals of Southern Luzon; and the Court of Appeals of the Visayas, Mindanao, and Sulu.

The Court of Appeals of Northern Luzon shall have jurisdiction over the Provinces of Abra, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zambales, and over the City of Baguio.

The Court of Appeals of Central Luzon shall have jurisdiction over the Provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga and Rizal, and over the City of Cavite.

The Court of Appeals of Manila shall have jurisdiction over the City of Manila and the Province of Palawan.

The Court of Appeals of Southern Luzon shall have jurisdiction over the Provinces of Albay, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Laguna, Masbate, Mindoro, Sorsogon, and Tayabas, and over the City of San Pablo.

The Court of Appeals of the Visayas, Mindanao, and Sulu shall have jurisdiction over the Provinces of Agusan, Antique, Bohol, Bukidnon, Capiz, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, Iloilo, Lanao, Leyte, Occidental Misamis, Oriental Misamis, Occidental Negros, Oriental Negros, Samar, Sulu, Surigao, and Zamboanga, and over the Cities of Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo.

SEC. 2. Membership; precedence among members.—Each District Court of Appeals shall consist of a Presiding Justice and two Associate Justices. The Presiding Justice shall be so designated in his commission, and the other Justices of the Court shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective commissions, or according to the order in which the same shall have been issued by the President of the Republic of the Philippines if the commissions bear the same date. Each District Court of Appeals shall, in all cases, sit in banc.

SEC. 3. Presiding Justice to preside sessions of courts.—If the Presiding Justice is present in any session of the court, he shall preside. In his absence, the Justice who is first in precedence in accordance with the next preceding section shall preside.

SEC. 4. Vacancy in Office of Presiding Justice.—In case of vacancy in the Office of the Presiding Justice of any of the District Court of Appeals, or in the event of his inability to perform the duties and powers of his office, they shall devolve upon the Justice of the Court who is first in precedence, until such disability is removed, or another Presiding Justice is appointed and has qualified.

SEC. 5. Places of holding sessions.—The Court of Appeals of Northern Luzon shall hold sessions in the City of Baguio; that of Central Luzon, in the City of Manila; that of Manila, in the City of Manila; that of Southern Luzon, in the municipality of Lucena, Province of Tayabas; and that of the Visayas, Mindanao, and Sulu, in the City of Cebu.

Whenever the Minister of Justice shall find that the public interest requires that the Court hold session in any other place within the District, the Court shall, by resolution, make provision for the holding of such session.

SEC. 6. Regular terms of District Courts of Appeals.—Each District Court of Appeals shall hold two regular terms for the hearing of cases, the first commencing on the second Monday of January and the second on the second Monday of July. Each regular term shall continue to and include the day before the opening of the next regular term.

The sessions for the hearing of cases shall be held on such days of the week, and for such length of time, as each District Court of Appeals may by its own rules provide.

SEC. 7. Quorum of the Court.—Two Justices r of a District Court of Appeals shall constitute a quorum for its sessions. In the absence of a quorum, the Court shall stand ipso facto adjourned until such time as the requisite number shall be present, and a memorandum showing this fact shall be inserted by the clerk in the minutes of the Court.

SEC. 8. Decision of cases.—The affirmative vote of two members of the Court shall be s necessary for the pronouncement of a judgment. Whenever in any criminal case submitted to the Court the majority thereof should e be of the opinion that the penalty of death or life imprisonment should be imposed, they shall so state in a written opinion, and the said Court shall refrain from entering judgment thereon and forthwith certify the case to the Supreme Court for final determination, as if the case had been brought before it on appeal.

All cases submitted to a District Court of Appeals for decision shall be decided or terminated therein within the term in which they t were heard and submitted for decision: Provided, however, That when a case is complicated or otherwise attended with special circumstances which demand additional time for its study or consideration, the Minister of Justice may, upon petition of the District Court of Appeals concerned, grant an additional period not exceeding three months for its disposition or termination.

Whenever the calendar of hearings of any District Court of Appeals appears to be so congested that it is impracticable or difficult for g said Court to decide and terminate all of them within the time herein provided, the Minister of Justice may, in the interest of a speedy administration of justice, authorize the transfer of cases from said Court to the nearest Court, whose calendar may permit of such transfer, and the latter court shall thereafter have jurisdiction to try and determine the same.

SEC. 9. Clerk of each District Court of AppealsHis bond.—Each District Court of Appeals shall have a clerk of court who shall exercise the same powers and perform the same duties in regard to all matters within its jurisdiction as are exercised and performed by the clerk of the Supreme Court of the )f Philippines, in so far as the same may be applicable; and in the exercise of these powers s, and in the performance of these duties, the y clerk shall be under the direction of the Court. Before entering upon the discharge of the le duties of his office, the clerk shall file a bond in the sum of five thousand pesos, with sufficient sureties to be approved by the Treasurer 11 of the Philippines, running to the Government, for the benefit of whom it may concern, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties, and for the delivery of payment to the Government, or the persons entitled thereto, of all property or sums of money that should I officially come into his hands or into those of his deputies or assistants. The bond shall be kept in the office of the Treasurer of the Philippines and entered in his books for the inspection of interested parties.

The clerk may require any of his deputies or assistants to give an adequate bond as security against loss by reason of any wrongdoing on the part of such deputy or assistant.

SEC. 10. Authority of the Presiding Justice over administration.—The Presiding Justice of each District Court of Appeals shall have ex-elusive administrative control of all matters affecting the internal operations of the Court.

SEC. 11. Applicability of Rides of Court and certain provisions of the Administrative Code.— All provisions of the Rules of Court relating to the Court of Appeals, except Rule 56 and section 12 of Rule 120, and the provisions of sections 145-A to 145-Q of the Revised Administrative Code shall, as far as practicable, be applicable to the District Courts of Appeals.

ARTICLE II.—Courts of First Instance

SEC. 12. Judicial Districts.—Judicial Districts for Courts of First Instance in the Philippines are constituted as follows: The First Judicial District shall consist of the Provinces of Abra, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zambales and of the City of Baguio.

The Second Judicial District shall consist of the Provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, and Rizal and of the City of Cavite.

The Third Judicial District shall consist of the City of Manila and the Province of Palawan.

The Fourth Judicial District shall consist of the Provinces of Albay, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Laguna, Masbate, Mindoro, Sorsogon, and Tayabas and of the City of San Pablo.

The Fifth Judicial District shall consist of the Provinces of Agusan, Antique, Bohol, Bukidnon, Capiz, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, Iloilo, Lanao, Leyte, Occidental Misamis, Oriental Misamis, Occidental Negros, Oriental Negros, Samar, Sulu, Surigao, and Zamboanga and of the Cities of Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo.

SEC. 13. Judges of First Instance for Judicial Districts.—Ten judges shall be commissioned for the First Judicial District. One judge, with permanent residence in the Province of Cagayan, shall preside over the Court of First Instance of Cagayan, except Batanes, and that of the former subprovince of Apayao, Mountain Province; one judge, with permanent residence in Batanes, shall preside over the branch of the Court of First Instance of Cagayan in Batanes; one judge, with permanent residence in the Province of Isabela, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya; one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Ilocos Norte; one judge, with permanent residence in the Province of Ilocos Sur, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Ilocos Sur and Abra; one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of. and reside in, the Province of Nueva Ecija; one judge, with permanent residence in Baguio, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of La Union, the City of Baguio, and the Mountain Province, except the former subprovince of Apayao; two judges, with residence in Pangasinan, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Pangasinan and Zambales; and one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Tarlac.

Five judges shall be commissioned for the Second Judicial District. One judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Bulacan; two judges, with permanent residence in Pampanga, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of the provinces of Pampanga and Bataan; one judge, with residence in the Province of Cavite, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of the Province and City of Cavite; and one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Rizal.

Seven judges shall be commissioned for the Third Judicial District. Six judges shall reside in the City of Manila and shall preside over the Court of First Instance of Manila and shall be known as judges of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Branches, respectively. One judge, with permanent residence in Palawan, shall preside over the Court of First Instance of Palawan.

Seven judges shall be commissioned for the Fourth Judicial District. One judge, with residence in Laguna, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of the Province of Laguna and the City of San Pablo; one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Tayabas; one judge, with permanent residence in Batangas, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Batangas and Mindoro; two judges, with permanent residence in Camarines Sur, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte; one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Albay; and one judge, with permanent residence in the Province of Sorsogon, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Sorsogon and Masbate.

Fourteen judges shall be commissioned for the Fifth Judicial District. Two judges, with residence in the Province of Iloilo, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of the Province and City of Iloilo and the Province of Antique; one judge, with residence in Occidental Negros, shall preside over the Court of First Instance of the Province of Occidental Negros and the City of Bacolod; one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, the Province of Capiz; one judge shall preside over the Court of First Instance of, and reside in, Oriental Negros; two judges, with residence in Cebu, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of the Province and City of Cebu and the Province of Bohol; two judges, one with residence in Leyte and another with residence in Samar, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Leyte and Samar; one judge, with residence in the Province of Zamboanga, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Zamboanga and Sulu; one judge, with residence in the Province of Davao, shall preside over the Court of First Instance of the Province and City of Davao; one judge, with residence in the Province of Oriental Misamis, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Oriental Misamis, Occidental Misamis, and Bukidnon; one judge, with residence in the Province of Cotabato, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Cotabato and Lanao; and one judge, with residence in the Province of Surigao, shall preside over the Courts of First Instance of Surigao and Agusan.

SEC. 14. Places and times of holding courts.— Courts of First Instance shall hold court in the places and at the times specified in section one hundred and sixty-one of the Administrative Code, as amended.

SEC. 15. Judges-at-large.—In addition to the judges mentioned in section 13 hereof, there shall also be appointed nine judges who shall not be assigned permanently to any judicial district and who shall render duty in such districts or provinces as may, from time to time, be designated by the Minister of Justice.

SEC. 16. Detail of Judge of First Instance to another district or province.—If the public interest and the speedy administration of justice so require, a judge of first instance may be detailed by the Minister of Justice to temporary duty, for a period which shall in no case exceed six months, in a district or province other than his own for the purpose of trying all kinds of cases.

SEC. 17. Period within which cases, petitions, or motions shall be decided.—Cases, petitions, or motions submitted to Courts of First Instance for decision or resolution shall be decided by the court within the period of thirty days from the date of the conclusion of the trial or hearing: Provided, however, That when memoranda are submitted by any or both or all the parties in a case, the date of filing the last memorandum shall be considered as the date of the conclusion of the hearing: And provided, further, That a judge of first instance may not grant to any party more than a total period of thirty days within which to file a memorandum.

Upon petition of a judge of first instance, the period of thirty days provided above for the decision of a case, petition or motion may be extended by the Minister of Justice when the case or matter to be decided is complicated or is attended by special circumstances which require additional time for study and consideration.

ARTICLE III.—General Provisions

SEC. 18. Reversion of unexpended fund balances and reapportionment of equipment, materials, etc.—The unexpended balances of funds or appropriations pertaining to the Court of Appeals and to the Courts of First Instance or branches thereof, which are abolished in accordance with the provisions of this Order, shall be available for expenditure for the maintenance and operation of the District Courts of Appeals created herein, and the same shall be allocated for the purpose in a special budget to be approved by the President. The records, equipment, materials, supplies, and books of the present Court of Appeals shall be apportioned among the District Court of Appeals herein created as may be directed by the Minister of Justice.

SEC. 19. Vacancies and new appointments.— The Presiding Justice and Associate Justices, and all the employees of the present Court of Appeals and the judges of the Courts of First Instance whose offices are abolished under this Order shall vacate their respective offices or I positions on the date this Order takes effect. The judges of the Courts of First Instance whose offices are not abolished shall continue to exercise their functions, powers, and duties, but shall vacate their respective offices on the expiration of ninety days from the date of the effectivity of this Order, unless reappointed by s the President.

SEC. 20. Retirements.—Officers and employees whose positions are abolished as a consequence of the reorganization provided in this Order shall be entitled to such gratuity as may if be fixed by appropriate legislation on the basis of the actual salary received and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by law.

SEC. 21. This Order shall be implemented by such legislation as may be necessary to carry out its aims and purposes.

SEC. 22. Effectivity.This Order shall take effect on January tenth, nineteen hundred and forty-four.

Done in the City of Manila, this 7th day of January, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and forty-four, and of the Republic of the Philippines, the first.

(Sgd.) JOSE P. LAUREL
President of the Republic
of the Philippines

By the President:

(Sgd.) PEDRO SABIDO
Executive Secretary

Source: Office of Solicitor General Library