SC moves oral arguments on terror law to March 2

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    THE Supreme Court has moved to March 2 the fourth round of oral arguments on Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 because some of justices went on self-quarantine.

    The fourth round was originally scheduled for today.

    The quarantine move, according to en banc clerk of court Edgar Aricheta, is just a “precautionary measure against COVID-19.” He did not give details.

    Court sources said one of the justices tested positive for COVID-19 but subsequent RT-PCR tests showed the justice already negative for the virus. However, the other justices decided to go on self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

    The source did not say when the tests took place.

    The SC is expected to finish interpellation of the petitioners when the oral arguments resume.

    After the interpellation, the justices will proceed to hear Solicitor General Jose Calida who will argue the government’s case. The SC will then hear from the two “amici curiae” or friends of court namely retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno and former Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza.

    Seven of the 15 justices have have yet to ask questions from the petitioners.

    The law signed by President Duterte in July last year is facing 37 petitions challenging its constitutionality.

    Among the petitioners are former Vice President Jejomar Binay, retired SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, legal luminaries and law professors, human rights activists, members of the media, religious leaders and youth leaders.