Hearings via video in Metro Manila as courts still closed under Alert Level 4

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2021 04:05 PM

MANILA—All courts in the National Capital Region will remain physically closed despite easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.

"The courts in NCR shall continue to operate online and conduct videoconferencing hearings on pending cases and all other matters, whether urgent or not, as far as practicable, so as not to delay the trial of cases and court processes," Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said in Administrative Circular No. 72-2021.

The period of filing and service of pleadings and motions is still suspended, the high court said. It will resume after 7 calendar days counted from the first day of the physical reopening of the court.

Gesmundo also said essential judicial offices would maintain the necessary skeleton staff "to enable them to address all urgent matters and concerns."

The high court also further extended the "no personal filing" policy, "unless for exceptionally urgent matters and only after having been properly communicated and cleared with the proper office."

Starting Thursday, Sept. 16, Metro Manila's 13.5 million people will be placed under Alert Level 4 in the government's new quarantine classification. 

Under Level 4, outdoor or al fresco dine-in services will be permitted at 30 percent capacity. Indoor dine-in services will only be allowed at 10 percent capacity and can only cater to those fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons are allowed to operate also at 30 percent capacity if they operate in an outdoor setting. If they function indoors, only 10 percent of seating capacity is allowed. 

Religious gatherings are allowed in the same condition, with all church workers required to be fully vaccinated.

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