Courts in MECQ areas still physically closed — SC
MANILA, Philippines — All courts in Metro Manila and in other areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), except for the Supreme Court, will still be closed during the duration of the quarantine.
Circular No. 117-2021 issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez on Saturday reiterated earlier Circular No. 114-2021 dated August 20 which stated the same guidelines.
“All courts in the NCR and identified areas under MECQ, except the Supreme Court, shall be physically closed to court users for the duration of the MECQ,” the new circular read.
The High Court said the affected courts will continue to operate online and conduct videoconferencing hearings only for urgent incidents and cases, such as, but not limited to, 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.
The said courts may be reached through their respective hotlines and email addresses as posted on the SC website.
“The time for filing and service of pleadings and motions during this period is suspended and shall resume after seven calendar days counted from the first day of the physical reopening of the relevant court,” SC added.
The essential judicial offices in all courts in areas under MECQ shall maintain the necessary skeleton staff to attend to all urgent matters and concerns, it noted.
“The pertinent provisions of Administrative Circular No. 56-2021 concerning courts and judicial offices in areas under different community quarantines shall likewise remain in force,” said SC.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier extended the implementation of the MECQ in Metro Manila until September 7. Another 15 areas were also placed under MECQ for the same period.
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