The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to conduct oral arguments on the petitions to void Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which is being claimed to be unconstitutional.
High court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the 15-member bench resolved to hold oral arguments “on the third week of September at the earliest, and proper notices will be issued once the date is finalized.”
Hosaka also said the high court ordered the consolidation of the six latest petitions with those of the 19 petitions filed earlier.
READ: Lawyers file 27th appeal vs. ‘terror’ act
All the respondents in the new petitions were required to submit their comments within 10 days from receipt of the high court notice.
Only 25 petitions were docketed at the high court as of Aug. 11, but two other petitions were filed through the post office by two separate groups in Mindanao.
Once received by the high court, the two petitions will be included in the list of cases filed against ATA.
RA 11479 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, and the government implemented it starting July 18.
Earlier, the high court ordered all respondents to the case to file their comments.
READ: 19th petition vs. anti-terror law
Acting as counsel for the Executive department and respondent public officials, the Office of the Solicitor General has filed its consolidated comment on the eight petitions.
Solicitor General Jose Calida has asked the high court to dismiss the petitions against RA 11479.
“The government should not be perceived as the enemy, but rather as a guardian in safeguarding the Filipino people and ensuring the enjoyment of all of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms,” Calida said.
READ: Lawyers warn of 'iron mask' in 'terror' law
He said the ATA “incarnates the State’s policy ‘to protect life, liberty and property from terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and to the welfare of the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the Law of Nations.’
“More specifically, the enactment of this law is part of the Philippines’ obligation to ensure respect for the rights to life and the right to security,” Calida said.