Feb 2, 2021 @ 18:41
From classroom to courtroom: Abogado faces former prof Leonen in Anti-Terror Law oral arguments
It was a deja vu moment for abogado Alfredo Molo III after he found himself facing Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, his former professor at the UP College of Law.
The two squared off during the first oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Law before the Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. During his interpellation, Leonen asked Molo to respond to his questions regarding more than 30 petitions seeking to strike down the controversial measure as illegal, where he asked pointed and tricky questions reminiscent of law school recitation.
Leonen started by asking if the SC should rock the boat and breach the so-called “wisdom of Congress” in passing the measure. He also grilled Molo for raising foreign court decisions to make his case before Philippine courts. “It is the Philippine flag that flies over the Supreme Court… These are not jurisprudence here,” he told Molo, reminding him that local cases are the only relevant ones for the SC.
The high court official also questioned the timing of the petitions, saying that it may be premature to discuss the possible excesses of the law right now.
“Personally, I truly understand the kinds of fears you are undergoing, having undergone those fears myself when I was a public interest lawyer. But with the hat now as a justice of this court and with this Judiciary, I think it is correct for us to assume that we should be careful not to become a political department,” Leonen said. “Only in an actual case when there can be a clear and convincing demonstration that there is repugnancy with the specific texts in the Constitution will there be an act by this court.”
But Molo responded: “I beg to disagree.”
Leonen went on to quiz Molo about the date of promulgation of several landmark cases in the Philippines, a nod to old times.