The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Monday welcomed the pronouncements made by Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta that the high tribunal could set by mid-November the oral arguments on all 37 petitions questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.
“The prompt action by no less than the Supreme Court is appreciated and appropriate as the ATA has become the most questioned Philippine law in recent history, its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) have been published, and actions, arrests, and charges under the ATA have been made and are forthcoming,” IBP President Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.
“Considering the seriousness and importance of the constitutional issues raised against the ATA, it is best that the parties are heard forthright and the issues surrounding the much-questioned law be resolved in a timely manner,” he added.
Cayosa said the IBP has reached out to the petitioners to discuss how they can help the SC conduct orderly oral arguments.
“A day after the announcement by the Chief Justice, IBP facilitated a meeting among the 37 petitioners for coordination and orderly presentation of the issues and arguments,” he said.
“We are grateful for the cooperation of the parties and their lawyers,” he added.
The IBP is also one of the petitioners and filed its petition questioning the constitutionality of the ATA before the SC last Sept. 11.
During his online meeting with the media last Friday, Peralta said that “by the middle of November, we can already agree on the date of the oral argument.”
However, due to the numerous petitions, Peralta said he wants “to limit the number of lawyers arguing before the court.”
Peralta said that the tribunal asked the SC justice in charge to list down the “common” and “not common” issues raised by the 37 petitions.
“When we go back to regular session on Nov. 3, I hope she will already be ready to submit to us the issues to be argued and set the preliminary conferences,” he said.
Peralta explained he would like the petitioners to agree to appoint the lawyers who will argue on the common issues to help fast track the proceedings.