SC rejects Calida plea; ATA oral arguments to push through on Feb. 2
MANILA, Philippines — Oral arguments on petitions against the Anti-Terror Act (ATA) will push through on February 2, the Supreme Court (SC) has said, after it denied the bid of Solicitor General Jose Calida to have it canceled over Covid-19 fears.
In its resolution dated January 19, the SC said it “resolved to proceed with the oral arguments on February 2, 2021 and defer action on the prayers for injunctive reliefs until after the termination thereof.”
It also resolved to “deny the supplement to the urgent partial motion for reconsideration…filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) praying that the Court…cancel the scheduled oral arguments and allow the parties to argue on the issues through the submission of memoranda.”
A portion of OSG’s motion to the SC reads: “This Honorable Court is invited to go beyond the biological impact of Covid-19 on the affected Assistant Solicitors General, but on the psychological trauma which Covid-19 wrenches on the other solicitors preparing for the Oral Argument as well.”
Before this, the high court also canceled the Jan. 19 oral arguments on the 37 petitions questioning the constitutionality of the ATA upon the request of Calida, who said his assistant solicitor-general and some staff who would attend the debate have tested positive for Covid-19.
The Anti-Terror Act is considered the most highly contested issue since the Cybercrime Prevention Act, having 37 petitions that are pending before the Supreme Court.
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