DOJ: Laguna fiscal's office shut as prosecutor tests positive for COVID-19, now recovered

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 03:03 PM

 MANILA – The Laguna Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Sta. Cruz town has been closed since March 15 after a prosecutor tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Justice said Tuesday. 

DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete withheld the identity of the prosecutor but said “he has since then recovered but [is] still on quarantine.”
 
The entire province of Laguna has been under total lockdown since Saturday following the rising number of cases there. As of Tuesday, there were 42 coronavirus cases in the province, with 2 recorded recoveries, according to provincial government data. 

Meanwhile, Perete said the Parañaque City Prosecutors Office will also be closed until next week.
 
“A litigant died reportedly due to COVID-19. As a result, the entire building housing the justice complex was closed,” he said.
 
Perete said the inquest of cases in these offices “were re-assigned to a nearby jurisdiction.”
 
A National Prosecution Service office order dated March 27 signed by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento designated the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Office of the City Prosecutor in Makati as the offices-in-charge with authority to conduct inquests of cases falling within the jurisdiction of Parañaque City. 

It took effect March 30.
 
The DOJ had previously said it would physically close all prosecution offices nationwide but will maintain a skeleton workforce on call to attend to urgent matters like inquests.
 
The DOJ announced Monday that inquests may now be done through any online platform that supports videocalls and conferences.