The Supreme Court has appointed former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno as another “friend of the court” in the oral arguments on 37 petitions against the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.
As “friend of the court,” Puno is expected to share his knowledge and expertise in the anti-terrorism law, the most controversial legislation challenged before the SC.
Puno served as head of the judiciary from December 2006 until his compulsory retirement on May 17, 2010 at age 70.
Oral arguments on the petitions will resume on February 16. So far, only the arguments of the petitioners in the cases, through their lawyers, have been heard by the SC.
Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta expressed hope that the government – through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) – would be able to present its side on ATA in the February 16 hearing.
The first “friend of court” appointed by the SC was retired SC Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza, a former solicitor general and deputy Ombudsman.
Puno and Jardeleza are expected to air their views as soon as the OSG has finished its presentation and after the SC justices have interpellated government lawyers.
At the end of last Tuesday’s oral arguments, Peralta asked the parties to the case, particularly the lawyers, to refrain from discussing the merits of the ATA cases in public.