Government prosecutors continuously conduct preliminary investigations on criminal complaints in places under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), even in ECQ areas, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Thursday, April 15.
National Prosecution Service (NPS) Prosecutor General Benedicto A. Malcontento gave the assurance considering that the government has placed the National Capital Region (NCR) and six provinces and one city under MECQ until April 30.
Malcontento explained he has a standing order issued last year that NPS offices nationwide will continue to operate in areas under MECQ and even under the much stricter ECQ.
“Kung kaya mag video we allow (If it is feasible, we allow video conferencing of preliminary investigations),” he said.
“However, we are lenient as to extensions of time to submit affidavits,” he stressed.
NPS offices nationwide conduct preliminary investigations on criminal cases to determine which of them should be filed before the courts.
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo had issued an administrative circular extending up to April 30 the physical closure of courts located in areas under localized ECQ and MECQ.
Areas under MECQ declared by the national government are the National Capital Region (NCR), the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Abra and Quirino, and Santiago City in Isabela.
Despite physical closure of courts, essential judicial offices “shall maintain the necessary skeleton staff to attend to all urgent matters.”
Courts in ECQ and MECQ areas will continue to operate through video conferencing, the SC said.