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Videoconferencing hearings to continue in areas under GCQ, says Supreme Court

Hearings through videoconferencing will remain in areas under the general community quarantine, the Supreme Court said Sunday.

In a statement, court administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that videoconferencing hearings in authorized courts nationwide is authorized by both Administrative Circular 40-2020 and 41-2020, which were issued by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.

“[I]f a party wishes his/her case to be heard via videoconferencing, the proper motion just needs to be filed, and the court, using its sound discretion, can either grant or deny the motion. This remedy is available in both civil and criminal cases,” Marquez said.

So far, Marquez said, there have already been three convictions promulgated online by the trial courts.

“There was a case for qualified human trafficking in Angeles City, and for large scale trafficking for prostitution, and rape both in Cebu City. In all three, the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and reclusion perpetua,” he said.

During the lockdown, Marquez said, more than 7,000 videoconferencing hearings were conducted and over 22,000 persons deprived of liberty were released. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/BM, GMA News