Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta assured an expeditious resolution, after oral arguments, of the 37 petitions filed with the Supreme Court (SC) on the alleged unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 which the government started implementing last July 18.
In his online meeting with journalists on Friday, October 23, Peralta said the justice in charge of the petitions is expected to submit the consolidated issues for oral arguments, the dates of which have yet to be set by the SC.
The SC is on its decision-writing period until November 2 and will resume its full court session on November 3.
Peralta, who met with the journalists on the occasion of his one-year tenure as Chief Justice, said the consolidated issues formulated by the justice in charge would have to be approved by the SC as a full court.
After the approval, the SC would schedule a preliminary conference with all the petitioners in the cases and thereafter set the dates for the oral arguments, he said.
Considering the number of petitions filed against ATA, the Chief Justice said there may be a consensus who among the petitioners would argue during the oral arguments.
He pointed out that it would be difficult and cumbersome if every representative of petitioners in the 37 cases would have to argue and be heard by the court.
The SC’s determination to hold oral arguments on the petitions against ATA would mean it would deny the motion of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to cancel the oral debates dur to COVID-19 pandemic.
Peralta said the SC had not ruled on the OSG’s motion nor had decided on the dates of the oral arguments because of the filing of several other petitions which needed comments from respondents
Almost all the petitions filed so far against ATA pleaded for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which would 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. The law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have been issued and published by the government last week.
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.
Still 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:
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.