ATA oral arguments resumption on hold during ECQ

ATA oral arguments resumption on hold during ECQ

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday said oral arguments on the petitions questioning Republic Act 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), will resume a fortnight after the lifting of the quarantine period in the National Capital Region (NCR).

SC Clerk of Court Marife Lomibao-Cuevas said in a notice that “the next schedule for oral arguments shall be two weeks after the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Judicial Region which may be April 27, May 4, and May 11.”

The tribunal added that the continuation of the oral arguments shall be through videoconferencing with live audio streaming made available to the public.

Pro hac vice (for the occasion only) rules for the video conference will be promulgated as soon as the court en banc can convene, the tribunal added.

NCR is under ECQ at least until April 11.

The fourth day of interpellation of the petitioners was held last month. The fifth day was supposed to be held on April 6.

The opinions of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and former Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, who have been designated by the Court as amici curiae (friends of the court) along with Solicitor General Jose Calida, are next to be heard.

During the previous oral arguments, Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos questioned the petitioners on their claim that the implementation of the ATA has a chilling effect on the rights of the petitioners.

Delos Santos pointed out that terrorist attacks over the years also have chilling effects on survivors and witnesses.

The SC compound in Manila, along with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and nearby buildings, is located in Barangay 669 which was recently locked down by the Manila city government, although offices under the Office of the President are not covered by local ordinances.

The DOJ, however, had to lock down its main office before the Holy Week as at least 17 employees tested positive for Covid-19. (PNA)

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