Workforce in the Supreme Court (SC) will be a maximum of 30 percent of the total personnel starting Wednesday, Oct. 20, with the lowering of the COVID-19 alert levels to Level 3 in the National Capital Region (NCR) until Oct. 31.
However, in Memorandum Order No. 100-2021 issued by Acting Chief Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, there will be 50 percent workforce in the SC’s Office of the Bar Confidant, Medical and Dental Services, Security Division, and Maintenance Division.
Bernabe is acting Chief Justice with the wellness leave of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo until the first week of November.
The order issued by Bernabe reiterated that there will still be “no personal filing” of pleadings and other court-required documents until further notice.
The filing of pleadings and documents can be done online or through mails in the post office and accredited courier firms.
Officials and employees reporting physically for work will be medically checked upon entering the SC premises on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila, and those who have not reported for the past 15 days will undergo antigen test, the order stated.
Also, officials and employees assigned to physically report for work but are residing in areas under granular lockdown or in places under micro-level quarantine should be replaced by those residing in areas under lower alert levels, it also stated.
The SC justices are on a three-week decision-writing period until Nov. 8. There will be no sessions in the SC’s three divisions and in the full court unless there is a very urgent case that is brought before it for resolution.
Trial courts in the NCR have started limited in-court proceedings since last Monday, Oct. 18, with the lowering of the alert level in the area.
NCR has been placed under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to Oct. 31 after the region experienced negative growth rates in new cases of COVID-19.
In a circular issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez for the SC, the in-court proceedings should be limited to lawyers, parties in the case, and witnesses.
NCR trial courts should maintain at least 50 per cent of the total workforce, the circular stated.