MANILA – Courts throughout the country will remain physically closed following the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) by President Rodrigo Duterte until the end of April, the Supreme Court (SC) said Tuesday.
In a message to newsmen, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka confirmed that “all SC Covid-19 related circulars and orders will be extended and will remain effective until the end of the ECQ.”
Hosaka also said there is no decision yet if the April 15 special session earlier ordered by the court would be moved to another date.
Earlier, in a memorandum to associate justices dated March 26, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta suspended the SC’s Baguio City summer sessions originally scheduled from April 12 to May 1.
Peralta noted the rapid escalation of the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the country had led to the declaration of a state of public health emergency and state of calamity.
The temporary physical closure of all courts nationwide took effect on March 23.
Despite physical closure, courts are functioning and are mandated to accept the online filing of all cases – criminal, commercial, and family – and petitions and posting of bail during the period of a health emergency.
Justices and trial court judges – while working from home — have been directed to immediately evaluate and act on the cases filed online.
A skeletal staff is required to report to the court offices only to act on urgent cases, particularly those filed in connection with the implementation of the ECQ. (PNA)