The Supreme Court recently designated pilot Admiralty courts to hear, try, and decide Admiralty cases in its Resolution entitled “Re: The Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases [Designation of Pilot Admiralty Courts to Hear, Try, and Decide Admiralty Cases]” (hereafter referred to as “Designation of Pilot Admiralty Courts”), which took effect on 01 January 2020. This issuance is a follow-up Resolution to A.M. No. 19-08-14-SC, otherwise known as “The Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases”, which took effect 01 January 2020 after its publication in the Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer last 20 October 2019.
Prior to the Designation of Pilot Admiralty Courts, Admiralty cases were heard by Special Commercial Courts, by virtue of a 2005 Resolution, A.M. No. 05-4-05-SC, “Re: Request for the Designation of Special Courts to Take Cognizance of Cases Involving Admiralty and Maritime Laws”. The Designation of Pilot Admiralty Courts revokes the 2005 Resolution, noting how overburdened Special Commercial Courts have become. Over the years, these Courts have been designated to hear various special cases, such as intellectual property, financial rehabilitation, liquidation, insolvency, cybercrime, and just recently, applications for inspection orders under the Philippine Competition Act.
Save for Admiralty cases filed prior to the effectivity of the Rules of Procedure for Admiralty Cases, which will be retained by the respective Special Commercial Courts, the Supreme Court has designated the following pilot courts and judges to hear, try, and decide such cases: