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Metro Manila courts to remain closed to users until end of September

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Metro Manila courts to remain closed to users until end of September
Police and barangay officers man the entry and exit points of Barangay 297 in Manila at Monday midnight, March 22, 2021 after it was placed under a four-day lockdown along with 12 other barangays.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the National Capital Region shifting to looser quarantine protocols on September 8, all Metro Manila courts, except the Supreme Court, will remain physically closed until the end of the month due to still rising COVID-19 cases, Court Administrator Midas Marquez said.

Metro Manila will transition to General Community Quarantine status on September 8 until September 30, as the government pilot-tests granular or localized lockdown in this period.

But Marquez, on Tuesday, said courts in NCR will remain physically closed “in view of the continued surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases in different variants, and considering the proposed granular or localized lockdown” that will be pilot-tested in Metro Manila that remains on Alert Level 4.

“[A]ll courts in the NCR, except the Supreme Court, shall remain closed to court users until 30 September 2021, notwithstanding the NCR will be under General Community Quarantine beginning 8 September 2021,” he said.

Courts that are in looser quarantine status but are located in a district or zone placed under a granular lockdown shall also be physically closed to users, he added.

Affected courts in the region will continue to operate online and conduct hearings through videoconference to not delay trials, Marquez also said. Courts will also be accessible through their hotlines and email addresses found on the SC website.

During the said period, the time for filing and service of pleadings and motions is suspended and shall resume seven calendars days from the first day of the court’s physical reopening, Marquez added.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo last week further reduced its workforce reporting physically to SC offices to 15% from 25% due to the “alarming number of recent COVID-19 infections.”

The national government has yet to release guidelines for the granular lockdowns as of Tuesday morning.

Health authorities on Monday logged a new record high of 22,415 new infections since the pandemic hit in 2020. This pushed the national caseload to 2,103,331.

GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE

SUPREME COURT

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