MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the physical closure of courts in the provinces of Abra and Quirino and Santiago City in Isabela until April 18 after the areas were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
SC Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez issued the closure order, as directed by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, to help curb the increase in Covid-19 infections.
“Considering that the City of Santiago, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra have been placed under MECQ, together with Metro Manila, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, where the courts and judicial offices shall remain physically closed until 18 April 2021, and upon approval of Chief Justice Gesmundo, the provision of Administrative Circular No. 21-2021, dated 10 April 2021, shall extend to and cover the courts in the City of Santiago, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra,” the order read.
The MECQ is in effect until April 30.
The courts can still be reached through telephone calls and email and will continue to operate through videoconferencing.
“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 stated.
During this time, filing and service of pleadings and motions would be suspended and shall resume after seven calendar days, counted from the first day of the physical reopening of the relevant court. Benjamin Pulta / PNA – northboundasia.com