SC holds 3rd day of debates Tuesday on terrorism law

Published February 15, 2021, 9:28 AM

by Rey Panaligan 

The Supreme Court (SC) is set to hold on Tuesday, Feb. 16, its third day of oral arguments on 37 petitions against the alleged unconstitutionality of the Ant-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

Supreme Court (SC) (MANILA BULLETIN)

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida is expected to present the side of the government after SC justices have finished their interpellations of the lawyers for the petitioners in the cases.

The first two sessions – last Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 – were concentrated on the arguments of the petitioners through their lawyers.  Thereafter, the interpellations of the justices followed.

After Calida’s presentation of the government’s side, the SC is expected to call its two appointed “friends of court” – former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and former SC Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza – to give their opinions which may help the SC in resolving the petitions.

Almost all of the 37 petitions asked the SC to nullify ATA in its entirety.

Last month, the SC had announced that it will resolve the pleas for a  temporary restraining order (TRO) that would stop immediately the enforcement of ATA which started on July 18, 2020.

There is now a criminal case filed before the Olongapo City regional trial court (RTC) involving alleged violation of ATA.

The case was filed last September against Aeta tribesmen Japer Gurung of Sitio Lumibao, Barangay Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales, and Junior Ramos of Porac, Pampanga.

On top of the withdrawal of their petition to participate in the cases against ATA as manifested by Solicitor General Calida, the SC denied their petition for intervention on account of the filing of the cases against them before the trial court.