By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has reminded government prosecutors in Metro Manila that they remain on call despite suspension of work.
Guevarra pointed this out after learning that persons who violated ordinances on curfews remain in jail and could not post bail due to the absence of prosecutors who will conduct inquests and the filing of charges in court where bail can be made.
“I will ask PG Malcontento (Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento) to look into this ASAP (as soon as possible),” Guevarra said.
Aside from this, the justice secretary said he issued on Thursday (March 19) “a Department circular reiterating my directive for inquest prosecutors to report/be on call.”
Guevarra issued Department Circular No. 008-A on March 13.
“During the period of public health emergency, the conduct of all inquest proceedings shall continue and shall proceed in accordance with the Rules of Court and existing rules and guidelines of the Department of Justice, including guidelines on the designation of inquest prosecutors on duty and the necessary staff therefore,” Department Circular No. 008-A stated, among others.
Department Circular No. 008-A was issued in conjunction to Department Circular No. 008 also released on March 13.
Department Circular No. 008 states that the Department of Justice (DOJ) main office in Manila and prosecution offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) have been suspended until April 12 but will maintain skeletal work forces.
The circulars were issued as part of government measures to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).