Lining up for disinfection. Observing physical distancing, the Supreme Court employees line up for their turn to use the Court’s “automated frontliner.” The SC is back on full operation starting June 1, the first day of the General Community Quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR). The Court has recently installed two multi-function disinfection chambers in the Court strategically located at the lobby of the SC Main Building and the SC Centennial Building. The disinfection chambers, dubbed as “SC’s automatic frontliners,” are equipped with a non-contact infrared temperature scanner, an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser, and an ultrasonic atomization system.
SC Public Information Office/released
Staff of courts outside Metro Manila want COVID-19 testing too
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 3, 2020 - 5:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — As courts nationwide resumed full operations on Monday, Judiciary personnel outside Metro Manila are asking that they be subjected to rapid testing for COVID-19 too.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was the resource speaker at Courts Appointments Watch webinar on Wednesday where he talked about Access to Justice Issues under a Pandemic Crisis.

A judge from San Fernando, Pampanga, one of the participants in the webinar, said they hope the SC would “reconsider the decision not to ‘rapid test’ trial court judges and personnel outside of Metro Manila.”

Another participant in the webinar said that there was no consultation on mass testing for court staff in her province, which she did not identify.

Responding to the comments, Leonen said he will relay the concern to his colleagues.

“All of us are wanting to rapid test everybody... but we also know that that will mean a large expenditure on our part and of course that there are also efforts to try to coordinate with local governments that have the funds in order to be able to help us with rapid testing,” he added.

Rapid testing at Metro Manila courts

Earlier in the webinar, Leonen shared that the SC offered mass testing to trial courts “but it seems they do not want to avail of it.”

He said that the Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals and the Sandiganbayan have also conducted mass testing for its employees.

Court Administrator Midas Marquez, in a separate message to reporters, explained that “rapid testing was only offered to NCR judges because NCR is/was epicenter” of the coronavirus disease.

Marquez also said that it was on a voluntary basis and others did not avail since he surmised that they “did not see the need because they had no symptoms.”

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta ordered the resumption of full operations of courts nationwide on June 1, the same day the government relaxed health protocols in the country.

In-court hearings have likewise resumed, but trials held through videoconferencing may still be conducted under special circumstances.

The SC Public Information Office said that as of May 29, 2020, a total of 1,698 of its personnel have undergone rapid testing.

The Philippines on Wednesday logged 751 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national tally to 19,748. Recoveries stand at 4,153, while death toll is recorded at 974.

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