JUSTICE Undersecretary Markk Perete on Tuesday disclosed that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Laguna was closed last March 15 after a prosecutor tested positive for the dreaded COVID-19.
The prosecutor has since recovered but still under quarantine, Perete continued.
Also, Perete bared that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Parañaque will be closed until next week after a litigant died reportedly due to COVID-19.
Because of this, the entire building housing the justice complex was closed, he said.
"These are so far the reports gathered concerning the NPS (National Prosecution Service). However, even with these closures, the NPS maintained a skeletal force to perform its basic function. Inquest of cases was re-assigned to a nearby jurisdiction,” Perete said.
Recently, Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay issued a memorandum to all prosecutors informing them that all prosecution offices around the country will also be closed.
“Upon the directive of the Secretary, all prosecution offices nationwide shall be physically closed effective 23 March 2020 and for the duration of the public health emergency,” he said, urging prosecutors to stay at home unless there are urgent matters which will require them to go to their offices or the courts.
Urgent matters include inquests for prosecutors and bail application hearings.
Justice Secretary Menardo Gueavarra, meanwhile, encouraged prosecutors and their staff to be “creative.”
“We leave it to prosecution offices to devise their own ways, use the official vehicle, private car pool, bikes, etc. We all have to be creative these days,” he told reporters in a message.