MANILA – All courts in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will remain physically closed until May 31, the Supreme Court (SC) said Thursday.
In Circular 39-2020 signed by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, all courts in the National Capital Region, Laguna province, and Cebu City may be initially reached only through their respective hotline numbers, e-mail addresses, and/or Facebook accounts as posted on the website of the high court.
All inquiries on cases or transactions, including requests for documents and services, shall be coursed and acted upon only through said numbers, addresses, and accounts of the concerned court, or through the Judiciary Public Assistance Section of the SC.
All electronic communications, however, must be transmitted to and received by these courts from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for these transmissions to be acted upon the same day.
Likewise, the raffling of cases in all courts in areas under MECQ shall proceed, either electronically or through videoconferencing.
“All judges presiding in courts in MECQ areas shall continue to draft decisions and orders in their respective residences until 31 May 2020, which decisions may be promulgated or issued once the courts are fully operational, except decisions and orders on urgent matters, which shall be promulgated or issued during the MECQ period,” Peralta added.
Courts that were initially authorized to conduct hearings through videoconferencing only on urgent matters, such as criminal cases involving persons deprived of liberty entitled to temporary release through videoconferencing, can now hear all matters pending before them through the same method.
In both criminal and civil cases, the court, upon the motion of involved parties, shall set the schedule of hearings via videoconferencing. (ia/PNA)