SC orders closure of more courts until end of January due to COVID-19 surge
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has ordered physically closing more courts beginning Friday up to the end of January as the country struggles with the surge of COVID-19 cases.
In a Circular issued by the Office of the Court Administrator, closure of courts will be up to January 31.
Areas covered by the recent circular are the following:
Puerto Princesa City
Zamboanga del Norte
Lanao del Norte
Davao de Oro
Surigao del Norte
Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva said “all the concerned Judges, court personnel and court users of the first and second level courts…are directed to comply entirely with the guidelines mentioned in OCA Circular No. 05-2022A as well as with the applicable protocols contained in previous and current resolutions of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases).”
Under Circular 05-2022A, physically closed courts may be reached through their hotlines, emails, and Facebook accounts if available and will attend only to urgent matters.
Judges will also conduct fully remote videoconferencing for proceedings on urgent matters and raffle of cases such as bail, the promulgation of acquittals or dismissal of criminal cases, temporary or permanent protection orders, habeas corpus, writs of Amparo, and other similar cases.
During the period that courts are closed, the judges shall continue drafting orders on pending motions that have been submitted for resolution.
Meanwhile, the recent circular mentioned of courts in Kalinga, Ifugao, Mountain Province, and Northern Samar which have been placed under Alert Level 4 are already covered and will be physically closed until January 31.
“In the event that there are specific matters that may apply only to areas declared under Alert Level 4 by the IATF during the subject period, which may have a significant impact on the current policies that have so far been adopted regarding the courts, the same should be brought to the attention of the OCA by the concerned Executive Judge or Presiding Judge for appropriate action,” Villanueva said.
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