SC wraps up oral arguments on ATL

May 17, 2021 Hector Lawas 182 views

THE Supreme Court (SC) on Monday wrapped up the oral arguments on 37 petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

The high court gave both parties 30 days to file their respective memorandum. After that, the issue on the anti-terror law is now deemed submitted for decision.

Before the adjournment, the SC also heard the speeches of amici curiae (friends of court), former chief justice Reynato Puno and associate justice Francis Jardeleza.

Also, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo announced during the resumption of the oral arguments that National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. will no longer be interpellated.

During his interpellation on May 12, Esperon was allowed to red-tag progressive groups by playing two videos of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, one from 1987 where the latter mentioned the groups.

Esperon claimed this was proof that the long-established progressive groups are CPP “fronts.” The groups denied the claim, saying that Sison’s speech was merely an acknowledgement of groups involved in the democratic movement.

A total of 37 petitions have been filed before the high court challenging the constitutionality, in whole or in part, of RA 11479.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed a stricter anti-terrorism bill, condemned by critics and rights groups as a weapon to target opponents and stifle free speech.

Duterte has defended the law, saying law-abiding citizens should not fear as it targets terrorists including communist insurgents.