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Courts nationwide to remain ‘physically closed;’ online filing of cases to continue

/ 06:26 PM April 07, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – All courts nationwide will remain “physically closed” until April 30 following the extension of the Enhanced Security Quarantine (ECQ) to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“All SC COVID-19 related circulars will be extended and will remain effective until the end of the extended ECQ,” Supreme Court’s Public Information Chief and Spokesman Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said.

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The circulars Hosaka was referring to is the online filing of all cases – criminal, commercial and family – and petitions and posting of bail during the period of a health emergency. The courts can be reached through the hotline, email addresses and Facebook accounts.

Justices and trial court judges, while working from home will evaluate and act on the cases filed online.

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READ: SC allows online filing of criminal cases, posting of bail

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the court remains functional despite the ECQ imposed by the government.

Peralta said the judiciary has built-in measures even before COVID-19 to address the expected backlog of cases as a result of the physical shutdown of all courts in the country.

Among the built-in measures adopted by the high court were those revised and special rules on admiralty cases, small claims, continuous trial on criminal cases, and pilot testing of remote testimony, he said.

Also, the high court had also amended the Rules on Evidence and Rules on Civil Procedure effective May 1, he said.

“I believe this will have a significant impact in addressing the case backlog in some of our courts,” he said.

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