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Closure of courts in ‘NCR Plus’ extended until end of Holy Week

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Closure of courts in âNCR Plusâ extended until end of Holy Week
File photo shows the Supreme Court office in Padre Faura St. Manila.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — Acting Chief Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe has extended the closure of all courts and court offices in the “NCR Plus” bubble to the end of Holy Week due to the “alarming surge” of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The order affects the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Sandiganbayan and trial courts in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

During the courts’ closure, all hearings, except on urgent matters, are temporarily suspended.

Urgent matters include petitions, motions and pleadings in relation to bail and habeas corpus, verdicts of acquittal, reliefs for those who may be arrested and detained during this period, and other related actions that may be filed in relation to measures imposed to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

While they are closed, Perlas-Bernabe said all courts and court offices must continue to remain accessible to the public through their hotlines and email addresses.

She added that further notices or guidelines will be issued to better address the health and safety concerns of court personnel and litigants.

Among the last acts of Diosdado Peralta as chief justice was to close all courts from March 25 to 26 after holding in-person retirement ceremonies.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peralta also ordered all courts in the Philippines to close down.

The Philippines has seen an overwhelming rise in COVID-19 cases in recent days, with the country reporting record-breaking single-day tallies.

The country has so far 702,856 COVID-19 cases and 13,149 deaths due to the viral respiratory disease. — Xave Gregorio with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

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