SC ‘physically closes’ all courts nationwide over rise in COVID-19 cases
MANILA, Philippines – All courts nationwide from the Supreme Court down to the first level courts shall be “physically closed” to the public and may be contacted through hotlines, email addresses, and Facebook accounts effective Monday, March 23.
The recent administrative circular 32-2020 dated Friday was issued following the continued increase of confirmed COVID-19 infection throughout the country.
“Due to the unabated rise of COVID-19 infection, and with the entire country now under a state of calamity, with many cities either on “Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine” or “Lockdown,” and to further limit the movement and travel of justices, judges and their skeleton-staff, in line with the appeal of the Government for the general public to stay home to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, all courts nationwide, from the Supreme Court down to the first level courts, shall be physically closed to all court users and may be reached only through their respective HOTLINES, and email addresses and Facebook accounts, if available, EFFECTIVE 23 March 2020, Monday,” read the circular signed by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.
The high court advised the litigants, lawyers, prosecutors, and the general public to first call, email or message the courts through its Facebook account if available to raise their concerns.
“If urgent, only then will the justice or judge on-duty, together with the skeleton staff, go to court to receive the act on the urgent matter,” read the circular.
All calls and messages shall be entertained from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday.
The justices, judges on duty and the skeletal staff will stay at their homes unless an emergency occurs.
Public Information Chief and Spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said hearings for bail, habeas corpus and other matters related to liberty will still be heard as these are considered urgent including judgments of acquittals.
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