Article X – Judiciary | 1973 Philippine Constitution

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Section 1. The Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law. The Batasang Pambansa shall have the power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section five thereof.

Section 2.

  1. The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. It may sit en banc or in two divisions.

  2. All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, executive agreement, or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en banc, and no treaty, executive agreement, or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least ten Members. All other cases, which under its rules are required to be heard en banc, shall be decided with the concurrence of at least eight Members.

  3. Cases heard by a division shall be decided with the concurrence of at least five Members, but if such required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision rendered en banc or in a division may be modified or reversed except by the Court sitting en banc.

Section 3.

  1. No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court unless he is a natural born citizen of the Philippines, at least forty years of age, and has for ten years or more been a judge of a court of record or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.

  2. The Batasang Pambansa shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of inferior courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar.

Section 4. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts shall be appointed by the President.

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

  1. Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.

  2. Review and revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in:

    1. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, executive agreement, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question.

    2. All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.

    3. All cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue.

    4. All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death or life imprisonment.

    5. All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.
  3. Assign temporarily judges of inferior courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not last longer than six months without the consent of the judge concerned.
  4. Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.
  5. Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, and the integration of the bar, which, however, may be repealed, altered or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

  6. Appoint its officials and employees in accordance with the Civil Service Law.

Section 6. The Supreme Court shall have administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof.

Section 7. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court shall have the power to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight Members, order their dismissal.

Section 8. The conclusions of the Supreme Court in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Member for the writing of opinion of the Court. Any Member dissenting from a decision shall state the reasons for his dissent. The same requirement shall be observed by all inferior collegiate courts.

Section 9. Every decision of a court of record shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based. The Rules of Court shall govern the promulgation of minute resolutions.

Section 10. The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges of inferior courts shall be fixed by law, which shall not be decreased during their continuance in office. Until the Batasang Pambansa shall provide otherwise, the Chief Justice shall receive an annual salary of seventy-five thousand pesos, and each Associate Justice, sixty thousand pesos.

Section 11.

  1. Upon the effectivity of this Constitution, the maximum period within which a case or matter shall be decided or resolved from the date of its submission, shall be eighteen months for the Supreme Court, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all inferior collegiate courts, and three months for all other inferior courts.

  2. With respect to the Supreme Court and other collegiate appellate courts, when the applicable maximum period shall have lapsed without the rendition of the corresponding decision or resolution, because the necessary vote cannot be had, the judgment, order, or resolution appealed from shall be deemed affirmed except in those cases where a qualified majority is required and in appeals from judgments of conviction in criminal cases, and in original special civil actions and proceedings for habeas corpus, the petition in such cases shall be deemed dismissed, and a certification to this effect signed by the Chief Magistrate of the court shall be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case.

Section 12. The Supreme Court shall, within thirty days from the opening of each regular session of the Batasang Pambansa, submit to the President, the Prime Minister, and the Batasang Pambansa an annual report on the operations and activities of the Judiciary.