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More courts allowed to hear cases via videoconference

/ 05:24 AM May 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — More trial courts across the country have been allowed to conduct hearings through videoconferencing on any pending cases for the duration of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Supreme Court this week authorized courts in 85 more cities and municipalities to “pilot test” videoconference hearings “in both criminal and civil cases, regardless of the stage of the trial, during this public health emergency,” Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez announced in a May 18 circular.

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Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta on Thursday authorized all courts in Metro Manila and those in 71 cities and municipalities nationwide to conduct videoconference hearings on any pending case regardless of the stage of the trial.

Last month, the Supreme Court allowed such hearings only on “urgent” criminal cases that involve the bail, or temporary release of detainees.

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Meanwhile, courts not yet authorized to conduct hearings by videoconference may continue to hold in-court hearings but only on “urgent matters” in either criminal, or civil cases.

—Dona Z. Pazzibugan

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, court videoconferencing, COVID-19, Supreme Court
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