CA, Sandiganbayan, CTA may now conduct in-court proceedings on urgent cases — SC

Published October 20, 2021, 12:03 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court

Appellate collegiate courts – Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) – in the National Capital Region (NCR) have been allowed by the Supreme Court (SC) to conduct in-court proceedings on urgent matters starting today, Oct. 20 until Oct. 29.

In a circular issued by Acting Chief Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe (Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo is on wellness leave), the SC said the urgency of a case should be determined by the appellate courts’ presiding justices or the justices who head the courts’ divisions.

Attendance during in-court proceedings should be limited to lawyers, parties, and witnesses required to participate, the circular stated.

Workforce in the appellate collegiate courts should be limited to 30 percent of the total personnel “to enable them to address all urgent matters and concerns,” it stated.

Also, the circular stated that personal filing of pleadings and court-required documents is limited to “exigent matters and cases.”

“The suspension of the time for filing and services of pleadings and motions, regardless of the alert level or community quarantine is LIFTED, and the period for filing and service shall resume seven (7) calendar days from Oct. 20, 2021,” it added.

In an earlier circular, Acting Chief Justice Bernabe said the SC will maintain a workforce of 30 percent of the total number of officials and personnel as COVID-19 alert level had been downgraded to Level 3 in the NCR from Oct. 16 to Oct. 31.

Trial courts in the NCR have started limited in-court proceedings since last Monday, Oct. 18.

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.