Malacañang has appointed 20 municipal trial court judges as judges-at-large or roving judges who can be assigned by the Supreme Court anywhere in the country to hasten resolution of cases in courts with overloaded dockets.
In a transmittal letter dated July 14, 2021 sent by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed 20 new judges-at-large, bringing the total number of roving judges to 40.
The President had earlier appointed 20 regional trial court roving judges who have been fielded by the SC in various judicial regions.
Designated MTC judges-at-large include Eduardo Eric Adversario, Jason Alquiroz, Joy Bolivar, Marilex Cabading, Maria Celina Carungay Servillano, Charisma Naida Castillo Martin, Ruel Espaldon, Eric Labuguen, Carolyn Delos Reyes Lorenzo Tanudtanud, Maria Rhodoro A. Malabag Peralta,
Charlene Clara Mendoza, Maria Monette Mesa, Ruben Mission V, Ma. Victoria Patinio, Anthony Prince Tominez, Jesus Torres, Lady Ivy Vanity Velasco, Geronimo Ventura III, Michael Hanz Villaster, and Mark Louie Zabala.
The appointment of judges-at-large, who have no permanent stations, is provided for under Republic Act No. 11459 or the Judges-at-Large Act of 2019, which was signed into law by the President in August last year.
RA 11459 mandated the creation of 100 new positions for RTC and 50 new posts for MTC judges-at-large. RA 11459 amended Batas Pambansa No. 129, known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez recommended the partial implementation of RA 11459 “since only 50 of the 150 positions were funded by Congress in the judiciary’s 2020 budget.”
Marquez said the other 100 positions are expected to be funded in 2021 and thus the posts will be open for application when the funds are ready.
Under the law, RTC judges-at-large will be assigned as acting or assisting judges to any RTC branch, while the MTC judges-at-large will be assigned to any first-level courts in the country —such as MTC, municipal circuit trial court (MCTC), municipal trial court in cities (MTCC) or metropolitan trial court (MeTC)—as public interest may require.
The law also mandates that judges-at-large are entitled to salaries, privileges, allowances, emoluments, benefits, rank, and title of an RTC or MTC judge.