Operation of all courts in Metro Manila will be via online from August 2-20
MANILA, Philippines — All courts and judicial offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) will carry out their operations online from August 2-20, as Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo ordered their physical closure in light of Metro Manila’s return to enhanced community quarantine due to the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
Under the Supreme Court’s (SC) Administrative Circular 56-2021, all courts in areas under ECQ, with or without heightened restrictions, and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), should operate online.
Videoconferencing, the high court said, will be conducted for urgent matters such as applications for bail, releases due to dismissal of cases or acquittal, habeas corpus, applications for temporary protection orders for Violence Against Women and Children cases and analogous circumstances, and other similar cases concerning liberty and safety of the parties.
The SC aid courts must act within 24 hours from filing the petition on such cases.
Courts may be reached through their hotlines and email addresses posted on the SC website.
The high court added that the time for filing and service of pleadings and motions during the period is suspended and shall resume after seven calendar days counted from the first day of the physical opening of courts.
Meanwhile, courts and judicial offices in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), with or without heightened restrictions, and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) should remain physically open with a 25 to 50 percent in-court skeleton workforce while the rest of the staff will be working from home.
The SC told judges of first and second-level courts that regardless of quarantine classification, they can conduct videoconferencing hearings with notice to the Office of the Court Administrator.
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