Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday, Jan. 16, expressed belief that the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to push back the date of the oral arguments on the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Law will give the parties more time to prepare.
“It’s just a matter of a few days. More time for everyone to prepare too,” said Guevarra, who has been named as a respondent in the petitions. Guevarra is a member of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) and led the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Terrorism Law.
The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, Jan. 15, announced that the scheduled Jan. 19 oral arguments have been postponed and moved to Feb. 2.
The SC explained it granted the request of Solicitor General Jose Calida to postpone the oral arguments since an assistant solicitor general and a member of his staff, both of who are supposed to be with him during the oral arguments, have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is representing all the government officials who have been named as respondents in the petitions.
Guevarra believes the move made by Calida is not meant as a delaying tactic considering the petitioners demanded from the SC urgency in acting on the petitions.
“We’re just talking about a few days here, not weeks or months,” Guevarra pointed out about the resetting of the oral arguments.
Meanwhile, Law professor Howard Calleja, who is one of the petitioners, said he respects the decision of the high tribunal to reset the oral arguments.
“I respect the decision of the court and wish the health and safety to the OSG lawyers and staff,” Calleja said.
“However, we hope that the oral arguments and the case as a whole should proceed accordingly therefore the resetting to Feb. 2 should be honored and we look forward to finally present our case to the court come Feb. 2, and pray for a positive and speedy disposition on this case, and uphold the Constitution and our rule of law,” he added.