Supreme Court extends physical closure of all courts in NCR plus bubble throughout Holy Week

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2021 03:15 PM

MANILA - Acting Chief Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe on Saturday extended the physical closure of courts in areas covering the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble until the Holy Week due to “alarming surge of COVID-19 cases.” 

This is also Bernabe's first action as Acting Chief Justice.

In the letter, the acting chief magistrate said the High Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and trial courts in the NCR Plus quarantine bubble, or areas covering Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, would be physically closed until Wednesday and throughout the Holy Week.

"All hearings in the abovementioned courts are temporarily suspended during this period, except on urgent matters ... however, all courts and court offices must continue to remain accessible to the public through their respective hotlines and email addresses," the document read. 

Urgent matters, according to the Supreme Court, include but are not limited to the following: 

  • petitions 
  • motions and pleadings in relation to bail and habeas corpus 
  • promulgation of judgments of acquittal 
  • reliefs for those who may be arrested or detained during the period 
  • other related actions that may be filed regarding "measures imposed at the local or national levels to address the declared health emergency." 

Other notices and guidelines will also be released to address the health and safety concerns of court personnel, according to Bernabe.

Former Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta on Thursday ordered the closure of all courts in the same areas due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the capital region and nearby provinces. 

On Friday, the Philippines logged another record-high 9,838 new coronavirus infections, the highest since the pandemic hit over a year ago. 

Active cases is also at an all-time high with over 109,000 infections. 

The OCTA Research group earlier in the day suggested placing the NCR Plus bubble under a 2-week modified enhanced community quarantine, as healthcare systems continue to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. 

- With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

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