THE Supreme Court announced on Thursday the physical closure of all courts and court offices in the National Capital Judicial Region (NCJR) and nearby provinces for two days amid the continued rise in Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the closure covers the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Court of Tax Appeals, Sandignbayan and trial courts.
The physical closure of NCJR courts started at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, until Friday, March 26.
“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,” Peralta said.
During this period, Peralta noted that the courts and court offices would remain open and accessible to the public and court users through their respective hotlines and email addresses, to act on matters of concern.
The Department of Justice, meanwhile, confirmed that an employee of its Witness Protection Program (WPP) has succumbed to the virus.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the 54-year-old male employee died on Wednesday and was among the 17 WPP personnel who were found positive for Covid-19 last Friday.
The WPP employee is the second employee of the DOJ who died due to the virus. Last February 7, 2021, a female employee also died due to Covid-19 while being treated in an undisclosed hospital for several days.
The number of Covid-19 infections involving DOJ employees have significantly increased over the past month.
At present, the DOJ already has 47 active cases with one recovery while last year the department recorded a total of 18 cases.
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