THE Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday ordered all courts in the National Capital Region and other areas under strict lockdown to be physically closed starting Monday, August 3, following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Administrative Circular No.42-2020 signed by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the temporary closure of the courts will last until August 14.
Also covered by the circular are night courts and Saturday courts.
“Unless herein provided, all courts in the National Capital Judicial Region and those areas under enhanced community quarantine or modified enhanced community quarantine shall be physically closed to all court users,” the circular said.
It added that courts can be reached through their respective hotline numbers or social media accounts and email addresses which are posted on the SC’s website.
“The raffle of cases in all courts shall proceed electronically or through videoconferencing,” it added.
The SC said the en banc and its divisions shall hold hearings through videoconferencing, while the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals shall also continue to receive pleadings and petitions electronically.
“The Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals shall continue to resolve and decide cases pending before them.Regular hearings shall be conducted through videoconferencing,” it also said.
It is not the first time that the SC ordered courts to be physically closed due to the pandemic.
Last March after President Duterte placed Metro Manila and other areas on lockdown, Peralta directed courts to temporarily close and resort to videoconferencing to conduct hearings and decide civil and criminal cases as well as bail petitions.