CHIEF Justice Diosdado M. Peralta has required all justices of the Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), as well as trial court judges, to submit to the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) copies of temporary restraining orders (TROs), status quo ante orders (SQAs), and writs of preliminary injunction (WPIs), and orders of voluntary inhibition which they have issued.

TROs are “short-term pre-trial temporary injunctions” that are “intended to be stop-gap measures, and only last until the court holds a hearing on whether or not to grant a preliminary injunction.” An SQA order “has the nature of a temporary restraining order” and is defined as the “last actual, peaceful and uncontested status that precedes the actual controversy.” Meanwhile, WPI are granted “only upon prior notice to the party sought to be enjoined and upon their due hearing.”

In Administrative Order No. 63-2020, the Chief Justice required the justices and judges to submit to the OCJ beginning this March 1 copies of the TROs, SQAs, and WPIs they issued within five days from such issuance, the Supreme Court (SC) said in a statement on Thursday.

All copies of orders of voluntary inhibition should be submitted to the OCJ, copy furnished the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), within five days from issuance of such orders. These may either be e-mailed or sent through postal mail addressed to the OCJ.

The Supreme Court (SC) added that the issuance of the said administrative order follows one of the core areas in Chief Justice Peralta’s Ten-Point Program which is integrity. The other core areas are efficiency, service, and security

According to the SC, the submission of reports on TROs and WPIs was discontinued because of its incorporation in the monthly report of cases pursuant to OCA Circular No. 246-2018. These monthly reports, however, do not reflect the qualitative details of the TROs and WPIs.

In a separate issuance, the Chief Justice came out with Administrative Order No. 62-2020 requiring the justices of the third level courts and second- and first-level courts judges to specifically address “persistent reports that some Justices and Judges have been voluntarily inhibiting from cases assigned or raffled to them on grounds that are neither just nor valid.”

The Chief Justice reminded those concerned of their duties “to perform their judicial duties without favor, bias or prejudice” and to “carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties.”

“[E]very court should remember that an injunction should not be granted lightly or precipitately because it is a limitation upon the freedom of the defendant’s action. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it, for no power exists whose exercise is more delicate, which requires greater caution and deliberation, or is more dangerous in a doubtful case, than the issuance of an injunction,” the Chief Justice said in the Court’s ruling in BPI v. Hontanosas, Jr. — Genshen L. Espedido