SC orders physical closure of courts in Alert Level 3 areas

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Wednesday ordered the physical closure of all courts in areas under Alert Level 3 until the end of January amid the continued surge in coronavirus infections.

In Memorandum 10-2022, Gesmundo cited the unabated rise of cases of Covid-19 due to the Omicron variant in the National Capital Region, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and other areas placed under Alert Level 3–Baguio City in the Cordillera Autonomous Region; Dagupan City in Region 1; Santiago City and Cagayan in Region 2; Angeles City, Bataan, Olongapo City, Zambales in Region 3; Batangas and Lucena City in Region 4-A; Naga City in Region 5, Iloilo City in Region 6 and Lapu-Lapu City in Region 7.

“All courts in the above mentioned-areas from the Supreme Court down to the first level courts shall be physically closed to all users and may be reached only through their respective hotlines, and email addresses and Facebook accounts, if available, effective tomorrow, 13 January 2022, Thursday until 31 January 2022, Monday,” Gesmundo said.

Under the directive, all in-court hearings suspended but fully remote videoconferencing hearings may proceed on urgent matters, such as inquests, bail hearings, promulgation of acquittals or dismissals, temporary or permanent protection order, habeas corpus suits, and similar cases and election-related cases.

The high court earlier announced the extension of deadlines for all court papers due in January as soaring coronavirus infections affected operations of several institutions.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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