CA, Sandiganbayan, CTA in NCR still closed starting Oct. 4 — SC

Published October 2, 2021, 1:01 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court

The Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) in the National Capital Region (NCR) are still physically closed to court users starting on Monday, Oct. 4.

Only urgent matters which need in-court proceedings will be allowed subject to the discretion of the presiding justices or heads of the courts’ divisions, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said in a circular issued last Oct. 1.

Only 20 percent of the total workforce in the three collegiate courts are allowed to report physically for work to address urgent matters and concerns.

The circular stated that the Sandiganbayan and the CTA should continue to operate online and conduct videoconferencing hearings on pending cases or other matters, whether urgent or not, “so as not to delay the trial of cases and court processes.”

“The time for filing and service of pleadings and motions during this period shall remain suspended until further notice,” the circular also stated.

Last Friday, the SC said announced that all NCR trial courts will also be physically closed starting Oct. 4 “notwithstanding any modification of the alert level guidelines” in the region.

In a circular issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, only urgent matters that need in-court proceedings should be entertained “at the sound discretion of the presiding judge.”

Covered by the circular are the first level courts – municipal courts, municipal courts in cities, municipal circuit trial courts, and metropolitan trial courts – and second level courts – regional trial courts.

At the SC, Chief Justice had announced that only 15 percent of the total workforce will still be required to report physically from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

There will be “no personal filing” of petitions. Filing can be done online or through couriers and the post office.

The 15 per cent workforce is required in the offices of the clerk of court (both full court and divisions), judicial records office, fiscal management office, office of administrative services both in the SC and the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), docket and clearance division of the Judicial Integrity Board, legal office of OCA, Philippine Judicial Academy, Philippine Mediation Center Office, office of the halls of justice and internal audit, and the SC health and welfare plan.

At least 30 percent of the total workforce is required in the office of the bar confidant and 50 percent in medical, dental, security and maintenance divisions.

“All reporting employees shall be monitored from time to time to ensure that they have no symptoms of COVID-19 infection throughout the day,” the circular stated.