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In order to provide a uniform method of assignment of cases to the different branches of courts of first instance and the manner in which such distribution is to be effected, the following rules should be strictly observed:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 

I. Raffling of Cases. 

All cases filed with the Court in stations or groupings where there are two or more branches, shall be assigned or distributed to the different branches by raffle. No case may be assigned to any branch without being raffled. The raffle of cases should be regularly conducted at the hour and on the day or days to be fixed by the Executive Judge. Only the maximum number of cases, according to their dates of filing, as can be equally distributed to all the branches in the particular station or grouping shall be included in the raffle. Cases in excess of the number sufficient for equal distribution shall be included in the next scheduled raffle, subject to the exceptions provided in paragraphs II and IV hereof. 

II. Notice. 

Notice of the day and hour of the raffle shall posted prominently in the bulletin boards of the Courts and at a conspicuous place at the main door of the session hall of the Executive Judge. Other notices to the parties may be sent as the interest of justice may require, on request of any party and with the prior approval of the Executive Judge. There shall be no special raffle of any case except on meritorious application in writing by any party to the case and with approval of the Executive Judge. 

III. Manner of Raffling. 

The raffle must be conducted at the lawyer's table in open court by the Executive Judge personally with the attendance of two other Judges, or in case of the latter's inability, of their duly authorized representatives. In stations where there are only two salas, the Judges of both and either the Clerk of Court or the Branch Clerk of Court should be present. In the absence of the Executive Judge, the Judge at the station who is the most senior in point of appointment to the Judiciary shall personally conduct the raffle. Under no circumstance may any raffle be made in chambers. The raffle proceedings should be stenographically recorded and minutes thereof shall be prepared and signed by the Judges [or their representatives] and the Clerk of Court in attendance. Immediately after the raffle on any particular day, the Executive Judge shall indicate the particular branch to which the case is assigned, the same to be written in words and in figures on the cover of the rollo and on the first page of the original complaint or information and initialed by the Executive Judge and the other two officers who attended said raffle. 

The raffle must be conducted in such manner that all the branches of the Court in that station or grouping including vacant salas, shall receive more or less the same number of civil, criminal and other kind of cases. 

For purposes of facilitating implementation of the foregoing rules, a Raffle Committee composed of the Executive Judge and two other Judges shall, as much as practicable, be constituted. 

IV. In Case of Urgent or Interlocutory Matters. 
Whenever an incidental or interlocutory matter in a case is of such urgent nature that it may not wait for the regular raffle, the interested party may request the Executive Judge in writing for a special raffle. If the request is granted and the special raffle is conducted, the case shall immediately be referred to the branch to which it corresponds. The Executive Judge shall have no authority to act on any incidental or interlocutory matter in any case not yet assigned to any branch by raffle. 

V. Notice of the Result of the Raffle. 

A copy of the minutes of the raffle proceedings showing the case numbers and the branches to which they have been assigned duly certified by the Executive Judge or the Judge who conducted the raffle as well as by the two other officials in attendance thereat, shall immediately be posted on the bulletin boards of the Clerk of Court and the Executive Judge and copies thereof furnished each branch of the Court. 

VI. Reassignment of Cases of Disqualified Judges. 
In any case, where the judge concerned is disqualified or voluntarily inhibits himself, the records shall be returned to the Executive Judge and the case shall be included in the regular raffle for reassignment. Another case, similar in category to the one reassigned, shall be assigned by raffle to the disqualified or inhibiting Judge to replace the case so removed from his Court. 

VII. Dismissed Cases. 

When a case is dismissed for any cause or reason whatsoever and the same is re-filed, it shall not be included in the raffle anymore but shall be assigned to the branch to which the original case pertained. If, by mistake or otherwise, such case is raffled and assigned to another branch, the latter must transfer the case to the branch to which it originally belonged, in which event, another case shall be assigned by raffle as replacement. 

To give greater force and effect to this rule, all orders of dismissal must be served upon all parties impleaded in the case. 

VIII. Pairing System. 

A pairing system shall be established whereby every branch shall be considered as paired with another branch. In the event of vacancy in any branch, or of the absence or disability of the Judge thereof, all incidental or interlocutory matters pertaining to it may be acted upon by the Judge of the other branch paired with it. The latter may likewise conduct trials or hearings on the merits in criminal cases with detention prisoners assigned to the other branch, as well as in other kinds of cases, subject to the conformity of the parties. 

For the purpose of the pairing system, Branch I shall be paired with Branch II, Branch III with Branch IV, and so on; and any branch in a station left without a pair shall be paired with the branch presided by the Executive Judge in addition to the latter's regular pair. In case of vacancy in the two branches paired with each other, or prolonged absence of both Presiding Judges of the paired branches, the incidental or interlocutory matters pertaining to any or both branches shall be acted upon by the Executive Judge. "Prolonged absence" means absence of one month or more. 

In stations or groupings wherein the branches are irregularly numbered, the foregoing rule shall be applied in the most analogous manner. 

IX. This Circular Shall Not Apply to a Single Sala or Multiple Salas Whose Territorial Jurisdictions are Definitely Fixed. 

In matters not covered by this Circular, the Rules governing the internal operations of the Court of First Instance of Manila shall continue to apply to that Court. 

This Circular shall take effect immediately upon receipt hereof by the respective Courts concerned. 

Manila, September 23, 1974. 


Chief Justice 
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