New home found for court hearings, legal papers in flood-prone Malabon
THE MALABON-NAVOTAS REGIONAL Trial Court (RTC) is scheduled to move out of its old location in perennially-flooded Barangay Catmon, Malabon, to a new drier location also in the city by next week.
The RTC’s voluminous court records as well as its legal reference books were damaged after being submerged in about 7-10 feet of floodwaters unleashed by Tropical Storm “Ondoy.”
The Supreme Court will be transferring its court branches in Malabon-Navotas to a rented property inside Golden Vale Subdi- vision in Barangay Tenejeros.
Malabon-Navotas City Prosecutor Jorge Catalan Jr. told INQUIRER that the court offices are due to transfer on Jan. 15.
“Since the new location will be on higher grounds, the Malabon-Navotas courts will no longer be in a flooded area,” he added.
The Malabon-Navotas RTC—used to the recurrent floods in low-lying Malabon— have long raised their shelves and filing cabinets and placed them on top of benches to keep regular floodwaters away from court records.
But the heavy rainfall caused by Ondoy
caused water levels to rise higher even than the raised filing cabinets, soaking all of its contents.
Branch 170 of the Malabon-RTC, for example, only managed to save a few court documents before the storm hit Metro Manila, like the documents on the controversial Ruby Rose Barrameda-Jimenez murder case.
In fact, the parties in the BarramedaJimenez case had already earlier petitioned the Supreme Court for a change of the trial venue, citing the difficulties of hearing the case in the dilapidated and flooded courts of theMalabon-Navotas RTC.
The request is still pending, but there may no longer be a need to seek a a new venue because of the scheduled transfer of the RTC offices.