All courts in the National Capital Region (NCR), except the Supreme Court (SC), are physically closed until Aug. 31, or until the duration of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the area.
In a circular issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez on instruction of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, all NCR trial courts and the appellate courts – Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals – should continue operating online through video conferencing for urgent incidents and cases.
Among the urgent incident and cases mentioned in Marquez’s circular are applications for bail, habeas corpus cases, and applications for temporary protection orders for Violence Against Women and Children cases.
Physically closed courts may be reached through their hotlines and email addresses which are posted in the SC website – sc.judiciary.gov.ph.
While the courts are physically closed, the circular stated that “the time for filing and service of pleadings and motions is also suspended and shall resume after seven calendar days counted from the first day of the physical reopening of the relevant court.”
“The essential judicial offices in all courts shall maintain the necessary skeleton staff to attend to all urgent matters and concerns,” it added.
At the SC, Chief Justice Gesmundo said all offices are open Monday to Friday starting Aug. 23 but only with a maximum of 25 per cent of work force, except in his office and those of the associate justices.
Personnel not included in the day’s work force will work from home (WFH).
Chiefs of offices may also avail themselves of WFH arrangement for two days weekly but they are “on call and their lines of communication must be open at all times,” Gesmundo said.
They are mandated to submit their regular accomplishment reports within the first five days of the month. The chief of the Office of Administrative Services will submit a report to the Office of the Chief Justice who among the heads of offices will fail to submit the required monthly reports, he said.