1. Within five (5) days after the last pleading joining the issues has been filed and served, the plaintiff must move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial conference.
2. The parties shall submit, at least three (3) days before the conference, pre-trial briefs containing the following:
a. A statement of their willingness to enter into an amicable settlement indicating the desired terms thereof, or to submit the case to any of the alternative modes of dispute resolution;
b. A summary of admitted facts and proposed stipulation of facts;
c. The issues to be tried or resolved;
d. The number and names of the witnesses to be presented, an abstract of their testimonies, and the appropriate number of hours that will be required by the parties for the presentation of their respective evidence;
e. Copies of all documents intended to be presented with a statement of the purposes of their offer;
f. A manifestation of their having availed or their intention to avail themselves of any discovery procedure, or of the need of referral of any issues to commissioners;
g. Applicable laws and jurisprudence;
h. The available trial dates of counsel for complete presentation of evidence, which must be within a period of three months from the first day of trial.
3. Before the pre-trial conference, the judge must study the pleadings of every case, and determine the issues thereof and the respective positions of the parties thereon to enable him to intelligently steer the parties toward a possible amicable settlement of the case or, at the very least, to help reduce and limit the issues. The judge should avoid the undesirable practice of terminating the pre-trial as soon as the parties have indicated that they cannot settle the controversy. He must be mindful that there are other important aspects of the pre-trial that ought to be taken up to expedite the disposition of the case.
4. At the pre-trial conference, the following shall be done:
a. The judge will all tact, patience and impartiality shall endeavor to persuade the parties to arrive at a settlement of the dispute; if no amicable settlement is reached, then he must effectively direct the parties toward the achievement of the other objectives or goals of pre-trial set forth in Section 2, Rule 18, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
b. If warranted by the disclosures at the pre-trial, the judge may either forthwith dismiss the action, or determine the propriety of rendering a judgement on the pleadings or a summary judgement.
c. The judge shall define the factual issues arising from the pleadings and endeavor to cull the material issues.
d. If only legal issues are presented, the judge shall require the parties to submit their respective memoranda and thereafter render judgment.
e. If trial is necessary, the judge shall fix the trial dates required to complete presentation of evidence by both parties within ninety (90) days from the date of initial hearing.
5. After the pre-trial conference, the judge should not fail to prepare and issue the requisite pre-trial order, which shall embody the matters mentioned in Sec. 7, Rule 18 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
6. Failure of the plaintiff to appear at the pre-trial shall be a cause for dismissal of the action. A similar failure of the defendant shall be a cause to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex-parte and the court to render judgement on the basis thereof.
7. Failure to file pre-trial briefs shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the pre-trial.
8. The judge should encourage the effective use of pre-trial discovery procedures (Administrative Circular No. 1 dated 28 January 1988, 2.1)
1. Unless the docket of the court requires otherwise, not more than four (4) cases shall be scheduled for trial daily.
2. The Presiding Judge shall make arrangements with the prosecutor and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) so that a relief prosecutor and a PAO attorney are always available in case the regular prosecutor or (PAO) attorneys are absent.
3. Contingency measures must likewise be taken for any unexpected absence of the stenographer and other support staff assisting in the trial.
4. The issuance and service of subpoenae shall be done in accordance with Administrative Circular No. 4 dated 22 September 1988.
5. The judge shall conduct trial with utmost dispatch, with judicious exercise of the court’s power to control trial proceedings to avoid delay.
6. The judge must take notes of the material and relevant testimonies of witnesses to facilitate his decision-making.
7. The trial shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from initial hearing. Appropriate disciplinary sanctions may be imposed on the judge and the lawyers for failure to comply with this requirement due to causes attributable to them.
8. Each party is bound to complete the presentation of his evidence within the dates assigned to him. After the lapse of said dates, the party is deemed to have completed the presentation of evidence. However, upon verified motion based on compelling reasons, the judge may allow a party additional trial dates in the afternoon; provided that said extension will not go beyond the three-month limit computed from the first trial date except when authorized in writing by the Court Administrator, Supreme Court.