Nov 20, 2020 @ 16:20

SC sets for January next year oral arguments on petitions vs anti-terror law

The Supreme Court on Friday came up with an advisory announcing the date for the holding of oral arguments into multiple petitions questioning the legality of the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

The high court sets the oral arguments on January 19, 2021, 2:00 p. m., at the SC en banc session hall in Manila.

Likewise, the SC announced several guidelines, and the issues to be tackled during the oral arguments proceeding.

The guidelines and issues are:

Petitioners and respondents shall limit their discussion to the following essential issues:

A. Preliminary issues.

1. Whether petitioners have legal standing to sue
2. Whether the issues raised in the petitions involve an actual and justiciable controversy
3. Whether petitioners’ direct resort to the Supreme Court is proper
4. Whether facial challenge is proper
5. Whether a temporary restraining order or a status quo ante order should be issued
6. Whether Republic Act No. (RA) 11479 should already be declared unconstitutional in its entirety if the Court finds that the definition of terrorism as well as the powers of the ATC are constitutionally infirm

B. Substantive issues.

1. Whether Section 4 defining and penalizing the crime of “terrorism” is void for vagueness or overbroad in violation of the constitutional rights to due process, free speech and expression, to be informed of the nature and cause of
accusation, and non-detention solely by reason of political beliefs
2. Whether Sections 5 to 14 defining and penalizing threats to commit terrorism, planning, training, preparing, and facilitating terrorism, conspiracy, proposal, inciting to terrorism, material
support, and other related provisions, are:

a. void for vagueness or overbroad in violation of the above-stated constitutional rights, as well as the freedom of religion, association, non-detention solely based on political beliefs, and academic freedom; and
b. violative of the prohibition against ex post facto laws and bills of attainder

3. Whether the uniform penalties for all punishable acts under Sections 4 to 14 violate the constitutional proscription against the imposition of cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment

4. Whether surveillance under Section 16 violates the constitutional rights to due process, against unreasonable searches and seizures, to privacy of communication and correspondence, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, and accused’s right to be presumed innocent

5. Whether judicial authorization to conduct surveillance under Section 17 violates the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and forecloses the remedies under the
rules on amparo and habeas data

6. Whether the following powers of the ATC are unconstitutional:

a. power to designate terrorist individuals, groups and organizations under Section 25 for: (i) encroaching
judicial power and the Supreme Court’s rule-making power; (ii) inflicting punishment ex post facto based on
the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List of designated terrorists, and other
requests for designation by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions; and (iii) violating due process and constitutional rights due to the lack of clear parameters for designation, absence of notice and hearing prior to designation, and lack of remedies to contest wrongful designation power to approve requests for designation by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions for violating
the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol

c. power to apply for the proscription of terrorist individuals, groups, and organizations under Section 26 for violating due process and constitutional rights

d. power to authorize arrest and detention without judicial warrant based on mere suspicion under Section 29 for
violating separation of powers (executive and judicial), and constitutional rights to due process, against unreasonable searches and seizures, to bail, to be presumed innocent, and speedy disposition of cases

e. power to adopt security classifications for its records under Section 45 for violating the right to information

f. power to establish and maintain comprehensive database information systems on terrorism, terrorist activities and counterterrorism operations under Section 46 (e) for violating constitutional rights to due process and privacy of communication and correspondence

g. power to grant monetary rewards and other incentives to informers under Section 46 (g) for lack of clear parameters

h. power to require private entities and individuals to render assistance to the ATC under Section 46 (m) for violating
the prohibition against involuntary servitude

7. Whether Section 27 of RA 11479 on preliminary and permanent orders of proscription violates the prohibition
against ex post facto laws and bills of attainder, and unconstitutionally punishes mere membership in an
organization

8. Whether the detention period under Section 29 of RA 11479 contravenes the Constitution, the Revised Penal Code, the Rules of Court, and international obligations against arbitrary detention

9. Whether the restriction under Section 34 violates the constitutional rights to travel, against incommunicado detention to bail and RA 9745 (Anti-Torture Act of 2009)

10. Whether Sections 35 to 36, in relation to Section 25, on the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s authority to investigate, inquire, and examine bank deposits, and freeze assets, violate
separation of powers Qudicial), as well as the constitutional right to due process, and right against unreasonable searches and seizures

11. Whether Section 49 on the extra-erritorial application of RA 11479 violates the freedom of association and the prohibition against ex post facto laws and bills of attainder

12. Whether Section 54 on the ATC and Department of Justice’s power to promulgate implementing rules and regulations constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power for failure to meet the completeness and sufficient standard tests

13. Whether Section 56 repealing RA 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007), violates the constitutional mandate to compensate victims of torture or similar practices and right to due process

14. Whether RA 11479 violates the Indigenous Peoples and Moros’ rights to self-determination and self-governance under the Constitution

15. Whether the House of Representatives gravely abused its
discretion by passing House Bill No. 6875 (consolidated version of the house bills to amend the Human Security Act) in violation of the constitutionally-prescribed procedure

II. Petitioners and respondents, through their respective counsels, shall each have a total of thirty (30) minutes per side to present their arguments on the foregoing issues.

III. Counsels for each side are directed to coordinate with each other and, thereafter, submit to the Court a manifestation stating: (a) the
name/s of the presenting lawyer/s on each issue or group of issues; and (b)
the time allotted for each lawyer, the total of which should not, however,
exceed the time limit as stated in item II above. Each side is required to
submit its manifestation by January 13, 2021.

IV. The interpellations by the Members of the Court shall immediately follow after the presentation of each side. The time allotted for counsels shall be exclusive of the time devoted to the interpellations by the Members of the Court.

V. The Solicitor General is allowed to bring with him during the Oral Arguments not more than three (3) lawyers who would be able to competently argue on the foregoing issues.

All other matters not covered by the Oral Arguments shall not, however, be considered as eliminated issues but shall be discussed and argued in the written memoranda to be required of the concerned parties.

The Members of the Court further maintain their right to ask any question on any relevant matter necessary for the resolution of the issues in these consolidated cases.#

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