Prosecutors offices to close starting Monday ‘except for urgent matters’
MANILA, Philippines — Courts and prosecution’s office will be closed beginning Monday despite orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to arrest quarantine violators. But both the courts and the prosecution offices, in separate orders clarified that judges, prosecutors and skeleton staff will go to the office to attend to urgent matters.
The announcement that courts will physically close beginning Monday was made Friday due to the rising threat of COVID-19 cases. But under Administrative Circular 32-2020, judges, justices and skeleton staff will go to court only to attend to urgent matters.
Urgent matters, according to Supreme Court Spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka include bail hearings, habeas corpus and promulgations on acquittals.
Following the Supreme Court’s announcement, the prosecution office followed suit, also physically closing its offices beginning Monday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the prosecutors have been informed of the new policy.
“The new directive to Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors was prompted by the SC (Supreme Court) administrative order,” Guevarra told reporters but he clarified that “everyone is on call.”
“All prosecution offices are directed to coordinate immediately with the local PNP and other law enforcement units and to make available the names of our designated contact/point persons and/or all contact details for purposes of inquest and very urgent court duty where and when necessary.”
“Every one is directed to stay in their respective residences. Prosecutors and support staff members shall only go to their respective offices for very urgent matters. Please ensure the availability at all times of inquest prosecutors who shall be on-call,” read Guevarra’s instruction to the prosecutors.
Guevarra said a corresponding circular shall be issued on or before March 23.
Edited by JPV
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