Supreme Court of the Philippines

Supreme Court suspends work from January 3 to 5 over COVID-19

Pauline Macaraeg
Supreme Court suspends work from January 3 to 5 over COVID-19

HIGH COURT. The facade of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Rappler

Courts in Metro Manila will also be on skeleton workforce while the region is under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Sunday, January 2, ordered a three-day work suspension at the Supreme Court (SC), from Monday to Wednesday, January 3 to 5.

The order, released upon consultation with the en banc, comes after “many” SC personnel tested positive for COVID-19 in antigen tests done from December 27 until Sunday. No figures were provided in Gesmundo’s statement.

“Contact tracing conducted reveals that they were in close physical contact with other Court employees,” Gesmundo said.

The three-day work suspension will allow the SC to conduct similar testing of all other personnel and to disinfect the premises, the Chief Justice said.

However, personnel involved in the 2020/2021 Bar Examinations and those who are involved in the e-filing of documents are still required to report on-site during this period. These include concerned staff of the Office of the Bar Chair, Office of the Bar Confidant, Office of the Administrative Services, Medical and Dental Services, and the receiving section of the Judicial Records Office.

The 2020/2021 Bar Exams, originally scheduled November 2021, were moved to January 16 to February 6, 2022.

Skeleton workforce in Metro Manila

Courts in Metro Manila will also be on skeleton workforce, following the government’s announcement that placed the capital region under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15.

“A skeleton workforce of at least 30% to at most 50% shall be maintained, to enable the courts to sufficiently address matters and concerns, as far as practicable,” said Raul Bautista Villanueva, deputy court administrator for Luzon and officer-in-charge of the Office of the Court, through Administrator Circular No. 160-2021A dated Saturday, January 1.

Saturday duty is suspended during the period, and regular court hours will be from 9 am to 3 pm.

The Philippines recorded 4,600 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday – the highest in over two months. Metro Manila, the top region with reported cases, is now classified as “high risk” for COVID-19 again. – Rappler.com

Pauline Macaraeg

Pauline Macaraeg is part of the Rappler Research Team’s fact-checking unit. Aside from debunking dubious claims, she also enjoys crunching data and writing stories about the economy, environment, and media democracy.