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Manila Standard - High Court calls special session today before taking yearend break

News & Interviews
14 December 2020

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

The Supreme Court started on Monday its traditional year-end break for decision-writing and will resume sessions on Jan. 4 next year.

But Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has called for a special full-court session today to deliberate on urgent administrative matters pending before the 15-member bench.

The nature and the issues involved in the pending administrative cases set for deliberation were not disclosed.

Trial courts nationwide are open 10 hours daily from Monday to Friday, except on holidays, as a result of the adoption of a four-day work week for officials and employees on Dec. 1.

Under the four-day work week, 80 per cent of all court personnel are required to report for work Mondays to Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the remaining 20 per cent will take a one-day leave.

The one-day leave during weekdays will be implemented alternately among court officials and employees so that each of them would be able to render the required 40 hours of work weekly.

The traditional practice of flexible time and overtime work for employees were cancelled starting Dec. 1.

In a circular dated Nov. 24, Peralta said the adoption of the four-day work week was in line with the directive issued by the Civil Service Commission on Oct. 15 for implementation during the period of health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the start of COVID-19, the Supreme Court has issued various circulars to ensure that all courts are functioning. Among these are the adoption of video conferencing for the hearings on civil and criminal cases, the online filing of petitions and other pleadings, and maintenance of a skeleton staff in all courts.