SC formulating issues for oral arguments on cases vs anti-terror law

Published October 14, 2020, 1:42 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

The Supreme Court (SC) has started formulating the issues to be tackled in the oral arguments which may be set late next month or early December on the 37 petitions filed so far against the alleged unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.


A check with the SC on Wednesday showed that the justice in charge of the consolidated petitions may finish the formulation of the issues by the middle of next month.

Thereafter, the issues formulated by the justice in charge will have to be approved by the SC as a full court.

After the approval, the SC will schedule a preliminary conference with all the petitioners in the cases and thereafter set the dates for the oral arguments.

This development will mean that the SC will deny the motion of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to cancel the oral arguments that had been tentatively set last month “at the earliest.”

In his motion, the OSG cited the restrictions on movement and mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the OSG’s motion had been opposed by many of the petitioners in the 37 cases filed with the SC.

Two weeks ago, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said the SC has not ruled on the OSG’s motion nor has it decided on the dates of the oral arguments because of the filing of several other petitions which need comments from respondents.

Almost all the petitions filed so far against ATA pleaded for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which will stop the implementation of the law that started last July 18. All the petitions asked that RA 11479 be declared unconstitutional either in part or in its entirety.

ATA under Republic Act No. 11479 was signed into law by the President last July 3.  As of Wednesday, Oct. 14, or more than three months after its enactment, concerned government agencies have yet to come up with its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

Thirty-six of the 37 petitions have been officially docketed as of October 2 based on the list obtained from the SC’s judicial records office.

One of the two petitions that were coursed through the post office has not been officially docketed. The petitioners in that undocketed case may have not complied with requirements like payment of docket fees.

Undocketed was the petition filed by the Anak Mindanao Party List represented by Amihilda Sangcopan. It was coursed through the post office together with the petition filed by Haroun Alrashid Alonto Lucman and his group.

Based on the list, the officially docketed petitions against ATA as of last October 2 were those filed by:

The group of lawyer Howard Calleja and former education secretary Armin Luistro, under docket number 252258;  Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, 252579;  the group of Law Dean Mel Sta. Maria and several professors of the Far Eastern University (FEU), 252580;

The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives led by Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, 252585; the former head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel Rudolph Philip B. Jurado, 252613;

Two labor groups represented by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE), 252623; the group of former members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission Christian S. Monsod and Felicitas A. Aquino and their group from the Ateneo Human Rights Center, 252624;

Party-List organization Sanlakas, 252646; several labor groups led by the Federation of Free Workers, 252702; Ferrer, 252726;  the group of cause-oriented and advocacy organizations led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, 252733; the group of former SC Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales, 252736;

The group of Ma. Ceres Doyo and former Constitutional Commission members Florangel Rosario Braid and Professor Edmundo Garcia, 252741; National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, 252747; Kabataang Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatan, 252755; and the group of Algamar Latiph, 252759.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, 252767; GABRIELA, 252768;  Lawrence Yerbo, Undocketed, 16663; Henry Abendan, 252802;  Concerned Online Citizens, 253809; Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties, 252903; Beverly Longid, 252904; Center for International Law, 252905.

Main T. Mohammad, 252916; Sangguniang Kabataan Chairperson Semuel Gio Fernandez Cayabyab, 252921; Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, 252984;  UP System Faculty Regent Dr. Ramon Guillermo, 253018; Philippine Bar Association, 253100; Balay Rehabilitation Center, Inc., 253118; and Integrated Bar of the Philippines, 253124.

Coordinating Council for People Development and Governance, Inc., 253242; Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc., 253252;  Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan, 253254; and Haroun Alrashid Alonte Lucman Jr., 253420.