With the aim of ensuring that videoconferencing hearings are running smoothly, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has decided to provide a P5,000 monthly communications allowance for each trial court judge and clerk of court.
In a circular dated April 16, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that, upon the approval of Gesmundo, “all Judges and Clerks of Courts of the Office of the Clerk of Court of the first and second level courts shall be granted a monthly communications allowance of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) beginning 1 May 2021 for their respective procurement of internet service, without need of liquidation.”
“The Judges and the Clerks of Court of the Office of the Clerk of Court shall ensure that the internet service procured has sufficient bandwidth to enable them to conduct videoconferencing hearings and electronically receive and transmit court documents,” Marquez said.
Since last year, the SC has allowed videoconferencing hearings due to quarantine restrictions in response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
The SC cited that, as of April 9, courts have conducted 234,540 videoconferencing hearings since last year with 87.75 percent rate.
“Mostly that is due to technical and internet connection problems,” SC Spokesperson Brian Hosaka explained about the unsuccessful videoconferencing hearings.