LIVE: Oral arguments on petitions vs the anti-terrorism law — Day 4

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MANILA, Philippines — Following a week of delay due to the threat of COVID-19, the Supreme Court on Tuesday resumes oral arguments on the 37 petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Already on its fourth day, SC justices will continue their interpellation of the seven oralists for the petitioners.

The SC moved the oral arguments by a week from February 23, as it announced that some of its justices were on “self-quarantine as a health precaution against COVID-19.” It did not give any other details.

Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier was the last to pose questions to the petitioners in the February 16 session, and there are seven other magistrates who have yet to interpellate.

In the days between the two sessions, petitioners have again urged the SC to temporary halt the implementation of the law.

In a show of force, more than 20 petitioners filed a joint reiterative motion for temporary restraining order last week, citing “supervening events” that they claim are “indicative of the Government’s ‘spirit of hostility, or at the very least, discrimination that finds no support in reason’ with which it will implement the vague and overbroad terms of the ATA.”

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta is hopeful they would finish interpellations of petitioners on the fourth day of oral arguments, so they can proceed with hearing the government’s defense of the law, to be delivered by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

The SC has designated two amici curiae or “friends of court” to help them dispose of the issues raised at the arguments. They are retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno and former Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza. They are also expected to present their respective statements to the court.

Tune in to the live audio streaming of the oral arguments scheduled at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2.

Recaps of the first three days of oral arguments may be read herehere and here.

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