13 lawyers to argue vs terror law
MANILA, Philippines — Former Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, Free Legal Assistance Group chair Chel Diokno and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman will be among the lawyers who will present arguments before the Supreme Court next week on behalf of individuals and groups which filed 37 petitions against the anti-terrorism law.
The oral arguments will be held on Jan. 19, more than six months after President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
In a joint manifestation submitted on Wednesday, petitioners informed the high tribunal about the lawyers—seven main and six alternates—who will present arguments on the different clusters of issues raised in the 37 petitions questioning the constitutionality of the controversial law.
Cadiz, Diokno and University of the Philippines law professor Alfredo Molo III will argue before the court on whether the petitioners have legal standing to sue and whether the issues raised in the petitions involve an actual and justiciable controversy.
Human rights lawyer Evalyn Ursua will present arguments on whether the Anti-Terrorism Council’s powers are unconstitutional.
She will also touch, among other things, on the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s authority to investigate, inquire and examine bank deposits, and freeze assets, and whether these violate the separation of powers and constitutional right to due process and right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) chair Neri Colmenares will raise the legality of Sections 5 to 14 of the law, specifically defining and penalizing threats to commit terrorism and supposed violation of the prohibition against ex post facto laws and bills of attainder.
Lagman will argue against the controversial provision that allows suspected terrorists to be arrested without a warrant and detained without charges for up to 24 days before informing judicial authorities.
Moro lawyer Algamar Latiph will discuss whether the antiterrorism law violates the Indigenous Peoples’ and Moros’ rights.
The petitioners’ alternate lawyers include Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Randall Tabayoyong, former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te, NUPL’s Josalee Deinla and Ephraim Cortez, Calleja Law Firm’s Howard Calleja, and Moro lawyer Bantuas Lucman.On the part of the government, Solicitor General Jose Calida was allowed by the high court to bring up to three legal officers with him.
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