Courts cautioned on restraining orders

July 18, 2019

THE Supreme Court yesterday cautioned lower court judges against excessively issuing restraining orders by reminding them “to exercise utmost caution, prudence, and judiciousness” in issuing TROs and writs of preliminary injunctions.

The SC issued the reminder following President Duterte’s earlier statements questioning the issuances of TROs on his administration’s infrastructure projects.

According to SC spokesperson Atty. Brian Hosaka, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin has directed Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez to look into Duterte’s concern.

“The SC is encouraging anyone who may have been affected or aggrieved by the alleged issuance of questionable TROs to immediately inform the Supreme Court and file a formal complaint before the Office of the Court Administrator,” said Hosaka.

As for the TROs on government projects, Hosaka said the SC had already addressed this issue in 1999 when it issued Administrative Circular No. 07-99, upon the request of then President Joseph Estrada, “reminding judges to respect P.D. No. 1818, which prohibits the issuance of TROs in cases involving implementation of government infrastructure projects.”

This 1999 circular was reinforced by the subsequent issuance of Administrative Circular No. 11-2000 calling the attention of lower court judges to pertinent provisions of the then recently passed Republic Act No. 8975, “An Act to Ensure the Expeditious Implementation and Completion of Government Infrastructure Projects by Prohibiting Lower Courts From Issuing Temporary Restraining Orders, Preliminary Injunctions or Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions, Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes.”

In 2003, then court administrator (who later became SC justice) Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. issued OCA Circular No. 79-2003 to make a similar reminder to all lower court judges.  

Velasco even cited a list of cases wherein courts are not allowed to issue TRO or writs of preliminary injunction which include, among others, government infrastructure projects.