BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Courts in Bacolod are closed as the city is under modified enhanced community quarantine until September 30.
In a memorandum to judges, clerks, prosecutors, and court personnel, Executive Judge Edgar Tupas of the Regional Trial Court said the courts housed within the Hall of Justice shall be physically closed for the duration of the MECQ.
However, he said that presiding judges have the discretion to decide on the actual date of the physical closure of their branches.
For the duration of the MECQ, the court shall be reached through their respective hotline numbers, email addresses, and Facebook accounts as posted on the website of the Supreme Court, the memo said.
All inquiries on the cases or transactions, including requests for documents and services, shall be coursed through and acted upon by concerned courts or through the Judiciary Public Assistance Section of the SC, it added.
It also said that the raffle of cases shall proceed electronically or through video conferencing and that all pleadings shall be filed electronically and received by the courts through their respective email addresses.
All courts are also authorized to hear cases through video conferencing upon the joint motion of the parties or orders of the court, and that executive judges shall also assign a skeletal staff to be on duty during office hours in all court stations, the memo said.
The reglementary periods for the filing of petitions, appeals, complaints, motions, pleadings, and other court submissions before the courts shall also resume on October 1, the memo said.
Existing arrangements for the inquest of detention prisoners by the offices of the city and provincial prosecutors and public attorneys shall remain unchanged, it added.*