IN what could be his final act as Chief Justice, Diosdado Peralta ordered a lockdown of the Supreme Court (SC) amid a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
In a statement, Peralta said the order effective until this Friday will also cover the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals.
The courts within the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces covered by the “bubble” will also be closed.
“In view of the rising cases of Covid-19 in the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (“Nearby Provinces”), Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta orders the physical closure of all courts and court offices in the NCJR (Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and trial courts) and in the nearby provinces beginning at 2 p.m. today, March 25, 2021, until tomorrow, March 26, 2021.”
But Peralta said court offices shall remain “open and accessible to the public and court users through their respective hotlines and email addresses as published in the Supreme Court website, https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/hotlines/, to act on matters and concerns.”
“All hearings in the NCJR Courts and Nearby Provinces are suspended during this period, except on urgent matters, such as but not limited to petitions, motions and pleadings in relation to bail and habeas corpus, promulgation of judgments of acquittals, 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 at the local or national levels to address the declared health emergency.”