The Supreme Court has ordered that all courts in National Capital Region, except its offices along Padre Faura Street in Manila, will remain physically closed until September 30 due to the “surge of confirmed” coronavirus disease cases in different variants and the proposal to enforce “granular or localized lockdown” in Metro Manila.
The national government placed NCR under GCQ from the modified enhanced community quarantine, only to push back the next day and reinstate the MECQ status.
In a memorandum circular issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez upon instruction of Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, all courts in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and MECQ are also physically closed.
In areas under modified GCQ or MGCQ, courts are open with at least 50 per cent of total workforce reporting physically for work, unless the court is located in an area that is declared under granular lockdown.
Physically closed courts should continue operating online and may be reached through hotlines and email addresses posted in the SC website – sc.judiciary.gov.ph.
In all physically closed courts, filing of pleadings and motions is suspended and will resume seven calendar days counted from the first day of the physical reopening of the relevant court “unless otherwise expressly ordered by the relevant court which shall consider the physical closure of the courts and the granular lockdowns.”
In NCR, also physically closed are the Court of Appeals in Manila, the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals.
While physically closed, judges and appellate court justices are mandated to act on urgent cases such as those pertaining to applications for bail, habeas corpus cases, and applications for temporary protection orders for Violence Against Women and Children.
The SC will continue to operate with at least 15 percent of total workforce except in the offices of the Chief Justice and the associate justices. Personnel not included in the day’s work force will work from home (WFH).
The WFH arrangement is also implemented in appellate courts and trial courts.