SolGen wants ‘full grasp of facts’ to answer alleged violations under anti-terror law
MANILA, Philippines — Government lawyers want to get a “full grasp of the facts” before responding to petitions seeking to stop the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
The Office of the Solicitor-General has filed several motions for extension telling the high court they are “still coordinating with the respondents to get a full grasp of the facts with respect to the allegations asserted by petitioners so as to come up with a comprehensive comment/opposition.”
The high court, in a notice dated March 2 said they will wait for the OSG’s comment.
In the notice, the high court granted the February 18 motion for a second extension filed by the OSG giving them until the first week of March to submit their comment on the manifestation and motion on possible intimidation prior to oral arguments filed by petitioners.
However, the OSG, through Solicitor-General Jose Calida, sought another extension to file its comment to March 14 and another bid from March 14 to March 24.
Then, another extension was sought in a motion dated March 23 asking that they be given until April 23 to file their comment citing the need to further address the allegations raised by petitioners.
Calida assured the high court 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.”
The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was enacted on July 3, 2020, and implemented 15 days later, or on July 18. Thirty-seven petitions have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the new law.
Also, to date, more than 20 petitions for a temporary restraining order against the anti-terror law remain pending at the Supreme Court. The number of pleas increased over time with petitioners filing every time there are supervening events such as threats to some of the petitioners and counsels, the attack against Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen, the arrest of two Aeta petitioners, and red-tagging of petitioners and their groups, among others.
On February 2, the Supreme Court started conducting oral arguments on the 37 petitions. Since then, only the petitioners have presented their arguments.
The oral arguments are anticipated to resume on April 6 with the OSG expected to argue in favor of the government.
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