All courts in Metro Manila will remain physically closed, except the Supreme Court (SC) while the entire National Capital Region will be under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 21 to 31.

The closure includes the Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and trial courts.

Court Administrator Midas Marquez in a circular released on Friday said that these courts will remain operational online and can still conduct video conferencing hearings only for “urgent incidents and cases” such as applications for bail and releases due to the dismissal of cases or acquittal.

Marquez added that the time for submitting and service of pleadings and motions during the MECQ period is not allowed and shall only resume after calendar days counted from the first day of the physical reopening of the relevant court.

“The essential judicial offices in all courts shall maintain the necessary skeleton staff to attend to all urgent matters and concerns,” the circular stated.

Various offices in SC will reopen starting August 23 but only with limited manpower.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has already ordered the physical closure of courts from August 2 to 20 when the National Capital Region (NCR) was placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions and later to the stricter enhanced community quarantine due to the rise of Covid cases. Ronald Espartinez