Calida's motions for extension defer SC resolution on halting anti-terrorism law
In this file photo taken July 2, 2019, Solicitor General Jose Calida talks to reporters before the oral arguments on the plea for Writ of Kalikasan over some parts of the West Philippine Sea.
Philstar.com/Kristine Joy Patag

Calida's motions for extension defer SC resolution on halting anti-terrorism law

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - March 30, 2021 - 11:08am

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General’s motions for extension to answer the push for a temporary stop on the implementation of the anti-terrorism law have kept the Supreme Court from deliberating on the petitioners’ pleas citing urgency, documents showed.

Petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Act have pressed the Supreme Court time and again to issue a temporary restraining order against the law’s enforcement even before the much-anticipated oral arguments. They have not stopped asking for this, even during the debates.

RELATED: Petitioners to SC: 'Profiling' of state workers' groups shows 'terror' in anti-terrorism law

Before the oral arguments were officially suspended on February 16, Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) again appealed to the court that petitioners and their counsels are “seriously threatened with prosecution.”

A week later, more than 20 petitioners filed a fresh plea for TRO, listing several “supervening events” such as continued red-tagging and arrests of petitioners, scrapping of the Department of National Defense and University of the Philippines accord, and continued prosecution and detention of two Aeta farmers under the law.

But the SC, in a notice on March 2, said they will wait for the OSG’s comment before it resolves the petitioners’ motion.

The SC continues to wait, as Solicitor General Jose Calida sought an extension to file its comment from first for another ten days and move the deadline from March 14 to March 24.

“To date, however, the draft Comment/Opposition remains under preparation as the OSG is still coordinating with the respondents to get a full grasp of the facts with respect to the allegations asserted by the petitioners, so as to come up with a comprehensive Comment/Opposition,” Calida said in a motion dated March 15.

Calida then sought another extension, this time for a month. In a motion filed on March 23, the solicitor general said they are “coordinating with the respondents, some of which also need more time to address fully the OSG’s inquiries as well as the allegations of petitioners.”

Calida has asked the SC to be given until April 23 to file its comment.

“The OSG assures that the instant motion is not intended to delay but is prompted by the afore-mentioned circumstances and by a sincere desire to submit a responsive and comprehensive Comment/Opposition that will aid this Honorable Court in resolving the present matter,” he added.

RELATED: Cheat sheet: Petitioners argue for the nullification of anti-terrorism law

In the time between the petitioners' filing on February 23 to end of March, counsel to petitioners Angelo Karlo Guillen was attacked and petitioners have also raised alleged intelligence-gathering and profiling of lawyers for "communist terrorist groups" and members of Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

OSG: Parlade’s ‘threatening’ post made in personal capacity

Even with explaining Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade’s Facebook post deemed by petitioners as a “clear threat” against them, Calida had to ask the SC for at least two extensions citing the need to “confirm… circumstances surrounding the subject Facebook post” and to “carefully verify these.”

Petitioners led by retired SC Justice Antonio Carpio in late January asked the SC to compel Parlade to explain his post which ended with: “Very soon, blood debts will be settled. The long arm of the law will catch up on you, and your supporters.”

On March 19, Calida filed the Comment, stating that Parlade made the posts in his personal capacity and statements are not officially from Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict where the military general holds ranking positions.

Calida also noted that the Facebook post “shows no indication—not even the logo of said agencies—that the same was posted on behalf of the government. The AFP and the NTF-ELCAC, clearly, have no personal knowledge on the circumstances and intent behind its alleged posting.”

 “There can be no violation of the Bill of Rights when committed by a private individual. To stress, the subject Facebook post was posted by Parlade in his personal capacity,” the solicitor general also said.

The SC will resume the oral arguments on April 6.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 22, 2021 - 3:11pm

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Law on July 3 despite opposition from rights groups and civil society groups that it could be used to stifle human rights.

A petition against the law has been filed at the Supreme Court and other groups are preparing pleadings of their own.

Follow this page for updates. Photo courtesy of The STAR/Michael Varcas 

March 22, 2021 - 3:11pm

Oral arguments on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 scheduled on March 23 is suspended due to the "alarming increase of COVID cases."

Supreme Court Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta says the oral arguments will resume on April 6 at 2:30 p.m.

March 15, 2021 - 1:03pm

The oral arguments on the petitions against the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will resume on March 23.

The Supreme Court announces that the oral arguments scheduled on March 16 is suspended.

March 14, 2021 - 4:04pm

Oral arguments on the Anti-Terrorism Act, initially pushed back to March 16, are suspended to give way to disinfection of Supreme Court buildings and offices.


March 8, 2021 - 4:34pm

Oral arguments on the Anti-Terrorism Act will not push through on Tuesday because some justices are on self-quarantine, the Supreme Court Clerk of Court says.

Debate to resume on March 16.

February 22, 2021 - 10:14am

The fourth day of Oral arguments on the petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Law, which was scheduled on February 23, is suspended.

The Supreme Court says the oral arguments will resume on March 2 at 2:30 p.m.

SC clerk of court Edgar Aricheta says some of the justices are on self quarantine as a precaution against COVID-19.

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