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Business Mirror - SC suspends court hearings until March 18 as virus cases rise

News & Interviews
12 March 2020

By Business Mirror

The Supreme Court has ordered the suspension of all court hearings in light of the continued rise in the number of persons infected with Covid-19.

The suspension will take effect today (Friday, March 13) until March 18.

“In furtherance of Administrative Circular 26-2020 earlier issued today [Wednesday], upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator, based on its monitoring of the situation and consultation from executive judges, presiding judges and court personnel, including officials of the Supreme Court, all court hearings in the first, second and collegiate courts are hereby suspended beginning 13 March 2020 until 18 March 2020,” Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said.

During this period, the Court directed justices, and judges, to reset hearings and inform parties of the new schedule; disinfect court premises; pen orders and decisions; and act on other matters pending before their respective courts.

Justices and judges are, likewise, expected to continue to report to the Office of the Court Administrator any development or circumstance regarding the spread of Covid-19.

In its original order, the Court merely directed all judges and court personnel to allow only entry to halls of justice and court rooms of those with official business in the courts.

Those experiencing fever, flu, colds and coughs shall be barred from court premises.

It also required executive judges and presiding judges to monitor the conditions of their respective personnel and workplaces to control the spread of Covid-19 in the halls of justice and courtrooms.

“Everyone must exercise caution and prudence in sharing, forwarding, or disseminating unverified or inaccurate news regarding the spread of the Covid-19, which only tend to cause unnecessary fear and panic,” the circular read.