Following the Philippines’ being placed under a state of calamity, the Supreme Court, through Administrative Circular No. 32-2020 (hereafter “A.C. 32-2020”), has ordered the physical closure of all courts nationwide starting 23 March 2020, subject to certain exceptions.
To further limit the movement of the Judiciary’s personnel and maintain the general public’s safety, A.C. 32-2020 enjoins justices, judges, and their skeletal staff to remain at home, save for urgent matters that must be acted upon. Meanwhile, personnel who were previously authorized to report to their respective courts to act on matters, such as payment and release of salaries and allowances in the Judiciary, shall continue to report as the need arises.
Through an Annex to A.C. 32-2020 that has yet to be published, litigants, lawyers, prosecutors, and the general public are advised to first contact the proper court through a hotline, Facebook account, or email address assigned to such court. Such communications may be made only between 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Once it has been determined, through the above communications, that there is an urgent matter that the court must attend to, only then should the respective court personnel physically go to court. When such need arises, the Supreme Court strongly advised law enforcement agencies to allow court personnel through checkpoints.