A trial court in Davao City has been allowed by the Supreme Court (SC) to temporarily close for two weeks after one of its staff tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a memorandum dated Nov. 13, Deputy Court Administrator Leo Madrazo informed Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Emmanuel Carpio that SC’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) has granted the magistrate’s request to temporarily close Davao City RTC Branch 16 from Nov. 14 to 27.
“Court operations shall continue to be covered by a work-from-home arrangement and the conduct of videoconferencing hearings from your residence is likewise allowed for said duration of time,” Madraza told the magistrate.
With this, the deputy court administrator told the judge to follow the rules in the use of videoconferencing and “strictly conduct the videoconferencing hearings with utmost confidentiality, ensuring court records are protected and returned to and kept in the courthouse at all times”
“Initiatory pleadings, in both civil and criminal cases, including criminal complaints, informations, and applications for bail, may be filed electronically through the official email addresses,” Madrazo advised.
“Pleadings and other court submissions on pending cases may be electronically filed directly with the branch where the case is pending,” he added.
Once the Branch 16 re-opens, Madrazo reminded to that “court disinfection should be done once in a while, preferably on weekends to avoid disruption of work.”
“Judges and court employees are equally reminded to practice strict health protocols and hygiene in order to avoid and prevent transmission and contamination in the work place,” Madrazo also instructed.
“Court employees who will be working from home shall not leave their respective residences so as not to be infected from other sources,” he said.
Madrazo explained the OCA granted the request of Carpio after the judge informed the OCA that “one employee thereof tested positive on RT-PCR swab) test for COVID-19 on 13 November 2020.”
Meanwhile, Madrazo said the judge informed the OCA that testing has been conducted on court employees who may have been in close contact with the person.