JBC extends deadline for Chief Justice application, nomination to Sept. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019   •   650

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has extended until September 2 the deadline for application and nomination of the next Chief Justice of Supreme Court, a panel member announced on Thursday.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the council decided to extend the deadline to invite more applicants to the position.

The application for the next chief justice initially closed on August 20.

Only four Supreme Court justices have filed their application and acceptance of nomination, namely, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr and Jose Reyes Jr.

Perlas-Bernabe and Peralta were among the five SC senior associate justices who were automatically nominated for the post. The other three magistrates are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguiao who all rejected their automatic nominations.

Carpio earlier said he declined his nomination as he is set to retire in October. Leonen and Caguiao, however, did not cite their reasons.

The chief justice position will be vacated when CJ Lucas Bersamin will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.

Bersamin was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chief justice on November 28, 2018.

Supreme Court to implement 4-day work week starting Dec. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will adopt a four-day work week scheme for all its officials and employees starting December 1.

In an administrative circular issued by Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, high court employees will work 10 hours a day or from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to complete the required 40 hours of work each week.

The justices will decide the operations schedule of their offices but all other high court offices and services will still be open from Mondays to Fridays with at least 80% personnel attendance.

The total number of employees in court offices will be divided into five groups, each comprising 20% of the total number of workers. Alternately, they will have to take one day leave during weekdays.

“Subject to the discretion of the Chiefs of Offices and services, the groupings, new work schedules and supposed rest day/day off may be changed or modified, upon prior notice to the employees,” the circular stated.

The practice of flexible time and overtime work for employees will be cancelled for the time being.

Peralta said the observance of a four-day work week is in line with the directive of the Civil Service Commission in October for implementation during the period of health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chief Justice also required the heads of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, and all trial courts to prepare their guidelines for the workweek schedule.

SC suspends work in all NCR courts on Nov. 13

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Thursday said it has ordered the suspension of work in all courts in the National Capital Region on Friday, Nov. 13 due to the devastation brought about by Typhoon Ulysses.

The work suspension, ordered by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, also covers the Judicial and Bar Council, the Philippine Judicial Academy, and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Supreme Court Public Information Office said.

“For affected areas outside the National Capital Judicial Region, the decision to suspend work in the courts rests on the sound discretion of the executive judges,” the announcement read.

Peralta also ordered the presiding justices of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, and the Court of Tax Appeals, and the executive judges of the first and second level of courts to determine the extent of the damage to their respective halls of justice, offices, and courtrooms and to submit a report to the Office of the Chief Justice no later than Nov. 20.

If the halls of justice, offices, and courtrooms are functional, the presiding justices and executive judges are directed to ensure that these spaces are clean and safe for the resumption of work in courts on Monday, Nov. 16.

Heavy rains and strong winds brought about by Typhoon Ulysses caused severe flooding in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.

81,888 PDLs released during COVID-19 pandemic — SC

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has noted the use of technology, specifically video conferencing, in expediting the cases of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) even amidst the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During Friday’s (October 23) ‘CJ Meets the Press’ briefing, Peralta reported that from March to October this year, a total of 81,888 PDLs had their cases resolved and been granted freedom.

The Chief Justice added that the majority of the more than 110,000 cases that they have deliberated on virtually were criminal cases.

The proceedings yielded 88% success rate and only 12% failed due to poor or intermittent Internet connection.

According to CJ Peralta, several PDLs were granted a reduced bail, particularly the indigent ones, to qualify for release while reading of sentence to minors was temporarily suspended.

“Napag-aralan namin na kakaunti lang makapag apply ng bail dahil karamihan dito ay mga indigent,” Peralta explained.

The decision to expedite the release of PDLs was to decongest jail facilities across the country where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high.

Because at that time we felt na yung COVID-19 ay nag-i-spread na sa mga jails, not only in BJMP jails but also in provincial jails, municipal jails and detention centers ng ating mga pulis,” the official noted.

Of more than 28,000 employees of the Judiciary, 252 contracted COVID-19 which is only 1% of the government branch’s total employee population.

Meanwhile, Peralta said the Supreme Court is now looking into the delays in the processing of cases of more than 1,700 detained quarantine violators.

The Chief Justice stressed these violators shouldn’t stay long in detention as they can be released by just paying a penalty or fine. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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