All trial courts nationwide in areas under Covid-19 Alert Levels 1 and 2 or higher are mandated to keep a workforce of at least 80 percent Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Aug. 31.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Supreme Court (SC) gave the trial court judges the discretion to require a 100 per cent workforce on-site. The judges will also determine who will work physically and who will work from home.
The SC ordered that priority will be given to in-court or face-to-face hearings of cases.
Under a circular issued by Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva with the approval of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, the SC also allowed flag-raising/lowering ceremonies, jail visitation, and night court’s operation.
It also mandates that “pleadings, motions and other court submissions may be filed or served by registered mail, through the services of duly accredited private couriers, or by transmitting them through electronic mail in accordance with the existing electronic filing guidelines.”
“Personal filing and follow-up of cases are allowed, subject to strict health protocols being observed,” the circular stated.
“All health and safety protocols against Covid-19 prescribed by the SC and the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), as well as those required by the IA TF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and the Department of Health (DOH), shall be complied with whatever is the Alert Level of a particular area,” also stated.
Last Monday, Aug. 15, Chief Justice Gesmundo urged judiciary officials and employees to avail themselves and members of their families of the government’s free vaccination against Covid-19.
The call was aired during the launch of the PinasLakas Vaccination Drive at the SC in cooperation with the DOH and the city government of Manila.