4 trial court branches close for contact tracing

THE Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Cebu City Branches 6 and 13 are physically closed from Feb. 22 to March 4, 2021.

This, after a lawyer who appeared before MTCC Branch 13 on Feb. 18 tested positive for Covid-19.

Executive Judge Jenelyn Forrosuelo, in a memorandum dated Feb. 21, said the temporary closure is in coordination and with approval from the Deputy Court Administrator for the Visayas and pursuant to Office of the Court Administrator Circular 101-2020.

The MTCC Branch 13 is using the staff room and courtroom of MTCC Branch 6.

Forrosuelo said during this temporary physical closure, the two branches will continue to remotely operate and can still be reached through their hotlines and email addresses.

The MTCC Branch 2 in Lapu-Lapu City will also implement physical closure for contact tracing.

Executive Judge Maryther Budomo, in a memorandum signed on Feb. 22, said the physical closure of the MTCC Branch 2 in Lapu-Lapu City is effective beginning Tuesday, Feb. 23 until Thursday, Feb. 25.

This is also after an MTCC Branch 2 employee, who last reported to work on Feb. 11, tested positive for Covid-19.

She said for purposes of contact tracing, the MTCC Branch 2 Lapu-Lapu City will follow the guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH) and close contacts of the confirmed case will have to undergo the required steps issued by the DOH.

During the temporary closure, the branch can be reached via its email address and hotline number.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 72 of the Lapu-Lapu City Hall of Justice is also closed until March 5 after two of its employees tested positive for Covid-19.

Executive Judge Joseph Ygnacio said the court personnel will maintain a work-from-home arrangement and video conference hearings will be conducted whenever applicable.

Ria Lidia Espina, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu chapter president, said both the IBP Cebu and Cebu City chapters are conducting a “Bench and Bar” dialogue to discuss the various issues and circumstances affected by the recent closures done in various courts, including the procedure of online filings and hearings, safety protocol and the developments amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The groups are scheduled to conduct a dialogue on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (WBS)