MANILA – Some trial court judges in Metro Manila refused to undergo rapid testing for the coronavirus disease 2019, a Supreme Court (SC) magistrate said Wednesday.
Speaking in a webinar by the Court Appointments Watch (CAW) on the topic “Challenges to Rendering Justice During and After the Pandemic”, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said the High Court offered rapid testing for first- and second-level trial court judges as part of its measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
“I can share with you that everyone in the Supreme Court and I think the Court of Appeals is doing its own mass testing, shortly even the Court of Tax Appeals and the Sandiganbayan, we have offered mass testing too to our trial courts, but it seems they do not want to avail of it and that to me is very strange because of the very risk of your duties to your people as well as your personnel and litigants and to your families, is to make sure that you have, you get tested in order that you can take the proper precautions,” Leonen said.
Leonen said he was disappointed over the different excuses being given by judges who did not avail of the rapid testing.
“Here we are, the Court spending as much of its resources as possible to protect its personnel and they do not want to take advantage of it,” he added.
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the free rapid testing was offered only to National Capital Judicial Region (NCJR).
“It was voluntary so there were a number of judges who availed. Others maybe did not see the need because they had no symptoms,” Marquez said.
There are around 400 lower court judges in the NCR.
A total of 1,698 out of 2,700 SC personnel, including five magistrates, have tested negative for Covid-19 after undergoing rapid tests that started last May 26. (PNA)