The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, August 18, declared physically open to the public starting Wednesday, August 19, all courts in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
In a circular issued by Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, the SC said all courts nationwide may still be reached through their hotline numbers, email addresses, and Facebook accounts listed in the High Court’s website, sc.judiciary.gov.ph.
Raffle of newly filed cases can be done in-court or electronically, the SC said.
“All inquiries on cases or transactions, including requests for documents and services, may be coursed and acted upon through the said numbers, addresses, and accounts of the concerned court, or through the Judiciary Public Assistance Section of the Supreme Court…,” it said.
Full court and division sessions in the SC will be done in-court “except under exceptional circumstances where sessions may be conducted through videoconferencing….”
The offices of the Chief Justice and the SC associate justices will be operational and all other offices in the High court will function with a skeleton force of not less than 50 per cent, the circular also stated.
The Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals will continue to receive petitions and pleadings electronically; will continue to resolve and decide cases pending before them; and their offices will be operated on not less than 50 per cent skeletal work force.
All trial courts – from the regional trial courts to the Shari’a courts – will continue to receive pleadings electronically and all hearings in both civil and criminal cases should be done in-court unless they involve persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).
“Night courts and Saturday courts shall remain suspended until further notice,” the circular stated.