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Courts in areas under GCQ to physically open, says SC

/ 10:20 PM May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Courts in areas placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic will reopen starting May 18, the Supreme Court (SC) has said.

Under Administrative Circular No. 40-2020 released Friday, “All the branches of the courts in the areas under GCQ shall be physically open from 18 to 29 May 2020, but shall function only with a skeleton-staff, by rotation, to be determined by the presiding judge.”

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The court’s operating hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until May 29. Courts will be closed on Saturday, May 30.

But inquiries on cases and transactions including requests for documents shall be done through the hotline numbers, email addresses, and/or Facebook accounts of the court, the SC circular noted, adding that all electronic communications must be transmitted to and received by the courts from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in order to be acted upon on the same day and that walk-in request will not be entertained.

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Further, the high court said that “all the courts in the GCQ areas shall continue to resolve and decide all the cases pending before them. The hearings, either in-court or through videoconferencing, of all the matters pending before them, in both criminal and civil cases, whether newly filed or pending, and regardless of the stage of the trial, are now herein authorized.”

Meanwhile, SC said the filing of petitions, appeals, complaints, motions, pleadings and other court submissions that are due within the period before May 31 will be extended by another 30 days and that court actions with prescribed periods will also be extended by 30 days.

On Saturday, the enhanced community quarantine will be lifted in some areas, which will then be placed under the less strict GCQ. Only Cebu City, Laguna, and Metro Manila will be on modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Here is the complete copy of the Supreme Court’s circular:

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