Terror law challengers, SolGen face off at SC | Inquirer News
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Terror law challengers, SolGen face off at SC

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 04:47 AM February 02, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers representing individuals and groups against the antiterror law will face off on Tuesday with the Office of the Solicitor General at the Supreme Court for oral arguments on the petitions.

The 37 petitions, most of which wanted the law nullified in its entirety, were filed by two retired Supreme Court justices, human rights groups, constitutionalists, journalists, lawmakers, militant labor groups, clergy, youth group, Muslims and indigenous groups, among others.

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Most of the petitioners have reiterated their plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order that would stop the implementation of Republic Act No. 11479, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2020, replacing the Human Security Act of 2007. It took effect on July 22.

Respondents mentioned in the petitions include Duterte and members of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), the Senate and House of Representatives.

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6 cluster issues

Former Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, Free Legal Assistance Group chair Chel Diokno, University of the Philippines law professor Alfredo Molo III, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, former Bayan Muna Rep. and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) chair Neri Colmenares, and Moro lawyer Algamar Latiph will be among those who will present arguments on behalf of the petitioners.

The petitioners have outlined six cluster issues to be discussed during the hearing.

These include whether the petitioners have legal standing to sue and whether the issues raised in the petitions involve an actual and justiciable controversy.

The lawyers will also present arguments on whether the ATC’s powers are unconstitutional.

They will also touch on, among other things, 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.

They will also argue against the controversial provision that allows suspected terrorists to be arrested without warrants and detained without charges for up to 24 days before informing judicial authorities; and 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.

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On the side of the government, Solicitor General Jose Calida was allowed by the high court to bring up to three legal officers with him.

Calida made a last-ditch effort to cancel Tuesday’s oral arguments over COVID-19 fears as he invoked “psychological trauma,” but the justices denied the plea and decided to proceed with the hearing. INQ

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TAGS: anti-terror law, Anti-Terrorism Council, oral arguments, Supreme Court
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