SC defers ATA arguments, cancels en banc session due to Covid precautions

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SC defers ATA arguments, cancels en banc session due to Covid precautions

THE Supreme Court has canceled the fourth day of the oral argument on the petitions seeking to declare as...

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THE Supreme Court has canceled the fourth day of the oral argument on the petitions seeking to declare as unconstitutional the implementation of Republic Act  11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 after some magistrates have opted to go on self-quarantine.

In an advisory released by the Office of the Clerk of Court, the SC announced that the oral arguments would proceed on March 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m.

The 4th day of the oral argument was supposed to be conducted today (Tuesday, February 23, 2021) after the Court’s regular en banc session.

“Considering that some of the justices are on self-quarantine as a health precaution against Covid-19, you are hereby informed, per instruction of the Honorable Supreme Court, of the suspension of the oral arguments scheduled on February 23, 2021,” the advisory stated.

The advisory was signed by Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta.

The magistrates are expected to continue to grill the petitioners on their arguments against the provisions of the ATA of 2020 when the oral arguments resume next month.

The Court will be then expected to hear expert opinions of amici curiae (friends of the court) retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno and retired Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza.

The Court earlier directed the parties in the case to refrain from discussing the merits of the case in public so as not to affect the outcome of the petitions.

Meanwhile, the SC has yet to respond to queries on what prompted some of the justices to go on self-quarantine but sources said one of the justices had reportedly positive for the Covid-19 virus.

Subsequent tests on the said justice last week already yielded negative results.

His colleagues, nevertheless, decided to go on self-quarantine after learning that their colleague contracted the virus.

The SC also announced that the magistrates have also cancelled their regular en banc session scheduled every Tuesday.

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