SC to hold oral arguments for petitions vs anti-terrorism law
On July 23, 2020, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, together with other media workers; members of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, led by their chairman Neil Doloricon and chairman emeritus and National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, artists and cultural workers filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the Supreme Court against Republic Act 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Facebook release
SC to hold oral arguments for petitions vs anti-terrorism law
Kristine Joy Patag ( - August 11, 2020 - 1:03pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:35 p.m.)  — The Supreme Court will hold oral arguments next month on the petitions challenging the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka said that the oral arguments may be held “at the earliest” on the third week of September. “The proper notices will be issued once the date is finalized,” he added.

The SC, in an en banc session on Tuesday, also ordered the consolidation of the latest six petitions filed, with the earlier 19 pleadings.

The government, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, is given ten days to file its comment on the latest six petitions.

SC records show there are at least 25 petitions filed challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act 11479; the latest from Center for International Law, VERA files and Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law filed on Monday, August 10.

There are two other petitions that were filed through electronic mail and were also sent via registered mail. These remain undocketed, but once the SC receives them, they may be included in the list of petitions filed against the anti-terrorism law.

The SC has ordered the “physical closure” of the National Capital Judicial Region for two weeks in August due to the rising COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila. Despite this, petitions against the anti-terrorism law continue to pour in.

Under the SC’s guidelines during this period, the Judicial Records Office shall assign a General Registry (G.R.) number for the petition filed electronically once its Accounting Division verifies the payment for docket fees.

The petitions

The anti-terrorism law faces challenges from a broad range of petitioners: From legal luminaries such as Framers of the Constitution and former SC justices, to lawmakers, to non-governmental associations, law groups and academe, youth groups and even social media influencers.

Some of the petitions asked the SC to strike down specific provisions of the law for being unconstitutional, while some sought the nullification of the entire RA 11479.

There were also petitions that asked for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to prohibit the government from implementing the law.

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