THE resolution of the petitions seeking to declare as unconstitutional the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is expected to be further delayed as the Court said it would have to resume the oral arguments on the matter after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Regional (NCR).
The SC was supposed to hold the continuation of the oral argument on Tuesday but was canceled for the fifth time as the Supreme Court and other courts in the NCR and its nearby provinces have remained closed due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.
“Oral arguments on the consolidated cases in GR 252578, et al. questioning The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 [RA 11479] scheduled for tomorrow [April 6, 2021] is postponed and will resume two weeks after the ECQ is lifted in the NCR,” the SC announced.
The NCR, along with nearby provinces such as Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal, were initially placed under ECQ from March 29 until April 4, but because of the continuing high cases of coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19), the government extended the ECQ period in these areas for another week, from April 5 until April 11.
This prompted the Court to extend anew the physical closure of all courts in areas under the ECQ.
SC first postponed the oral arguments last February 23, followed by three consecutive postponements on March 9, March 16, and March 23, and the latest is April 6.
Newly appointed Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo would preside over the continuation of the oral arguments, owing to the retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta last March 27.
The SC is expected to hear the arguments of the Office of the Solicitor General, the chief government counsel of the government, against the 37 petitions.
The SC will also hear the legal opinions of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and former SC Associate Justice and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza on the issue.
Puno and Jardeleza have been designated by the Court as amici curiae (friends of the court) to give their expert opinion on the matter.
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