A total of 1,994 officials and employees of the judiciary has been infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of last June 3, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said on Friday, June 11.
Of those infected, 33 had died, 1,846 had recovered and 115 are still active cases, Gesmundo said during his first media conference since his appointment last April 5.
He also said that “of the 1,584 court workers who underwent quarantine after contracting the disease, 213 were hospitalized, 33 were quarantined in COVID-19 facilities, and 972 underwent home quarantine or isolation.”
The government has included more than 30,000 judiciary officials and employees in the A4 category of priority persons in COVID-19 vaccination program.
Gesmundo said that the judiciary has its own vaccination program. But, he said, the SC has been encouraging judiciary officials and personnel to avail themselves of the vaccination program of their local government units.
“We have already requested the justices, judges and court employees of the different regions in the country to register online with LGUs to receive their vaccine,” he said.
“I’ve worked so hard not only in upgrading our classification for purposes of the priority list,” he stressed. He then paid tribute to Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe (then acting chief justice) who also did her part to make sure that the judiciary gets vaccine allocations from the national government.
“I cannot really cite the projected completion of the vaccination. We have created a task force to supervise and ensure that the vaccination takes place in accordance with the schedule and on the number of the vaccines available for the judiciary,” he said.
Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, who had been designated head of the vaccination task force, said that the SC had already three vaccination drives.
Marquez said the judiciary is expecting 500 more doses of the vaccines.
The SC had allowed all judiciary officials and employees, even justices and judges, to have a “special privileged leave” during their vaccinations against COVID-19.
This means that all of them will have a two-day leave of absence which would not be deducted from their leave credits. Vaccines against COVID-19 are given in two separate doses at least 30 days apart.
The grant of “special privileged leave” was approved by Chief Justice Gesmundo who allowed its retroactive implementation. Those who had their vaccinations before the approval of the request last May 19 are entitled to the two-day leave of absence.
Also, the SC had allowed the grant of financial assistance ranging from P15,000 to P50,000 to trial court judges and personnel who got sick, hospitalized, and died due to COVID-19.
The financial assistance, also approved by Gesmundo, is being granted to employees affected by COVID-19 “from March 2020 until the current pandemic ends.”
The P15,000 assistance is for officials and employees who suffered mild to moderate illness; P30,000 for those who had critical illness that required — among other processes — invasive ventilation, extracorporeal oxygenation or renal replacement therapy; and P50,000 to those who died due to COVID-19 whether hospitalized or not.