SC extends physical closure of courts in areas under strict lockdown to April 30

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 14 2021 06:14 PM

MANILA - Courts and court offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and other areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine will remain closed until April 30, the Supreme Court public information office said Wednesday. 

In a circular, the SC said the order will cover courts in areas within the bubble (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal), and the provinces of Abra and Quirino. 

Courts in areas where localized enhanced community quarantine measures are in place will likewise remain closed, according to the SC. 

The affected courts may continue to operate virtually, through videoconferencing “as far as practicable,” according to the high court.

“Judges may conduct fully remote videoconferencing hearings on pending cases and other matters, whether urgent or not, regardless of their physical location and without prior permission from the Office of the Court Administrator,” the SC said. 

Filing of cases and petitions during this period in the affected courts are also suspended, according to the high court, and will resume 7 days after they reopen physical operations.

Skeleton forces of essential judicial offices will be required to attend to urgent matters, the court said.

Courts that will be physically closed may be reached through the hotlines and e-mails listed on the Supreme Court website. 

Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said the court would issue separate guidelines with cases concerning the Anti-Terrorism Act. 

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

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