MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) rules on electronic filing, as well as electronic posting of bail, are also extended until April 30 to be in sync with the national government’s extension of the lockdown over Luzon to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“All SC COVID-19 related circulars and orders will be extended and will remain effective until the end of the extended ‘enhanced community quarantine’ (ECQ),” SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka told reporters on Tuesday, April 7.
Hosaka said the summer sessions in Baguio City have also been canceled.
Since the lockdown began, the SC has issued several circulars implementing major adjustments:
- Cancellation of all hearings nationwide, except for urgent matters like bail and promulgation of judgments of acquittals
- Physical closure of all courts nationwide, with judges and staff on call for urgent matters
- Electronic filing of complaint and information
- Electronic posting of bail
But even with the electronic filing, lawyers still run into the challenge of getting their pleadings notarized. Notarization has to be done in person.
The implementing guidelines for e-filing issued by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) still require notarization, but do not provide for adjustments.
“That is the requirement under OCA Circular No. 89-2020, so that has to be complied with. I believe that is still possible despite the ECQ,” said Hosaka.
In a memorandum sent on March 26 notifying the associate justices that the Baguio City sessions have been canceled, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta also said “the Court En Banc will have its own Special Session here in Manila on April 15, 2020, at 10 o’clock in the morning.”
When that memorandum was sent, the Luzon lockdown was only in place until April 12, while the lockdown for Metro Manila was supposed to last until April 14. Malacañang has since extended the lockdown for the entire Luzon until April 30.
“No decision yet if the April 15, 2020 Special Session will be moved to another date,” said Hosaka.
Before the coronavirus lockdown, the justices were supposed to tackle in an April 14 en banc session the quo warranto petition filed against ABS-CBN over its franchise issues. – Rappler.com