Debates on oral arguments on anti-terrorism law reset to March 2

22-Feb-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 4:48 PM Print This Post

The Supreme Court on Monday reset the fourth day of the oral arguments on the Anti-Terrorism Act petitions to March 2.

“Considering that some of the Justices are on self-quarantine as a health precaution against COVID-19, you are hereby informed per instruction of the Honorable Supreme Court, of the suspension of the oral arguments scheduled on February 23, 2021,” the one-page notice from the Office of the Clerk of Court read.

The SC has not identified the magistrates on quarantine.

Oral arguments will resume on March 2, 2:30 p.m.

The SC was supposed to resume its interpellation of the petitioners on February 26. So far, only eight justices have propounded their questions to the seven oralists, with Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier intending to resume her interpellations on the fourth day of debates.

At a chance interview last Friday, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said they did not expect that a lot of their colleagues will ask a lot of questions to the petitioners, but they are hoping interpellation of petitioners will be finished on Tuesday.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, counsel for the respondents, has yet to present his opening statement, the government’s defense against the 37 petitioners lodged against the anti-terrorism law. The two amici curiae or “friends of court” have also yet to present their statements.

Since the suspension of session on February 16, petitioners composed of Indigenous Peoples and Moros have brought to the SC’s attention the arrest of two petitioners, Windel Bolinget and Chad Errol Booc.

In a manifestation filed last Wednesday, the petitioners told the court that the arrest of Bolinget and Booc “show the imminent danger that human rights defenders and dissenters face, particularly with the passage of the Anti-Terror Law.”

Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) also pressed the SC to issue a temporary restraining order against the law, citing Booc’s arrest and “threats” of prosecution by a certain military official under the law.

Peralta asked Lagman to put this in writing, noting that the lawmaker is reiterating the petitioners’ plea for TRO, so the Calida can comment on it. Deliberations on the prayer may follow.

Meanwhile, recaps of the first three days of oral arguments may be read here, here and here.


Category: Philippines

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