The first phase of the Supreme Court’s (SC) oral arguments on 37 petitions against the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 ended at about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2.
First phase was held for four Tuesdays starting last Feb. 2, except Feb. 23, and dealt mainly on the presentation of the arguments by the lawyers of the petitioners and the interpellation of the SC justices.
Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta announced last night that the oral arguments will resume on March 9 with the presentation of the government’s side through Solicitor General Jose C. Calida and members of his legal panel. This is the second phase of the legal debates.
Thereafter, the SC justices will proceed with their interpellations. It could not be ascertained how many Tuesdays will the second phase last.
After the presentation of the government side, Peralta said the SC will call its two “friends of the court” to share their views, the third phase, on the issues involving the petitions against ATA.
Appointed “friends of the court” are former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and former SC Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza.
The petitioners in the cases and the government lawyers will then be directed to submit their respective written memoranda in amplification of the oral arguments.
Once filed and received by the SC, the justices are expected to start deliberating on the petitions.
It was not known if the reiterative pleas for temporary restraining order (TRO) that could stop the implementation of ATA which started on July 18, 2020 would be resolved after the termination of the oral arguments.
With that schedule, it is unlikely that the petitions against ATA can be resolved by the SC before Peralta hangs his robe as Chief Justice on March 27, or a year before his mandatory retirement on March 27, 2022.