Sep 9, 2020 @ 18:13

Carpio, Morales to SC: Estelito Mendoza will just be lawyering for the gov’t

Retired Supreme Court justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales along with several other petitioners who questioned the legality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 on Wednesday asked the high court to deny the petition of former Marcos solicitor general Estelito Mendoza to allow him as amicus curiae during oral arguments.

In a manifestation with opposition and reply, Carpio, Morales, and University of the Philippines law professors said that Mendoza would just be lawyering for the respondent-government officials inasmuch as he sought the dismissal of the multitude of petitions filed against the hugely-controversial legislation.

“By seeking the outright dismissal of the constitutional challenges to the ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act), he cannot act as an impartial friend of the Honorable Court, as his interests are now wed with those of the Respondents,” they said.

“Atty. Mendoza is approaching, not as a ‘friend of the court,’ but as a ‘friend of the Respondents.’ If he desires glory, he should come to the battlefield on open terms, and on equal footing as the rest of the parties,” they continued.

Furthermore, they challenged the so-called ‘expertise’ of Mendoza like his “length of practice, stint as faculty member, attendance in international conferences, and previous public office.”

They pointed out that if these would be the qualifications to become an amicus curiae, ” then most of us and our lawyers would qualify as amicus curiae. ”

In his 29-page petition to become amicus curiae, Mendoza said that” he comes to court to seek leave to appear in this case as amicus curiae in the belief that he may assist the court in the resolution of the issues presented in the various petitions.”

But in his petition, Mendoza expressed belief that the high court should dismiss the petitions for lack of “actual controversy involving a legally demandable and enforceable right.”

“The petitions do not sufficiently allege, much less show, that the petitioners have committed any act in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act thereby creating an ‘actual controversy’ involving a legally demandable and enforceable right for the exercise of judicial power under Section 1, second paragraph, of Article 8 of the Constitution, ” Mendoza’s petition read.

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.

The highly contested provisions of the law are the following:

• section 4 – definition of Terrorism;
• section 5 – the threat to commit terrorism;
• section 6 – planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism;
• section 9 – inciting to commit terrorism;
• section 10 – recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization;
•section 11 – foreign terrorist;
• section 12 – providing material support to terrorists.
• section 25 – designation of terrorist individual, groups of persons, organizations or associations;
• section 26 – proscription of terrorist organizations, associations or group of persons;
• section 27 – preliminary order of proscription
• section 29 – detention without judicial warrant of arrest.

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