MANILA, Philippines – The oral arguments on the controversial anti-terrorism law have been moved to February 2, the Supreme Court announced Friday.
This is after staffers of Solicitor General Jose Calida tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Considering the meritorious request of Solicitor General Jose Calida that his Assistant Solicitor General and some staff who will attend the oral arguments have been tested positive for COVID-19, you are hereby informed, per instruction of the Honorable Supreme Court, that the oral arguments is reset to February 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m.,” the Clerk of Court said in a statement.
“No further postponement will be allowed,” it added.
The high court originally scheduled the oral arguments on January 19.
MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has opened the applications for chief justice following the Supreme Court en banc’s approval of the early retirement of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.
In an announcement, the JBC said the applicants may submit their applications and other documentary requirements on February 15.
Applicants must visit the JBC website and access the online application scheduler from 8 a.m. to 12 midnight not later than the said date, it added.
The JBC said Peralta’s optional retirement was approved by the magistrates on January 5 during their first en banc session this year. He will step down from office when he turns 69 on March 27, one year ahead of the mandatory retirement age for judges and justices.
The SC in December confirmed that Peralta opted for early retirement but did not disclose the reason.
Peralta was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as SC chief justice in 2019.
When he retires, the five most senior magistrates in the high court will be automatically nominated for the post, subject to their confirmation. They are Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Alexander Gesmundo, and Ramon Hernando.
The eight current and former lawmakers named by President Rodrigo Duterte to have been involved in the corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have denied the said allegation.
Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Sato, in a statement, said her inclusion in the list is to out malign her credibility especially with the upcoming elections.
“The report made by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica which impinges on my credentials as a public servant is clearly calculated to sow intrigues and disruption in the local politics of Occidental Mindoro,” she said.
Sato said Belgica is a known ally of her possible opponent in the 2022 elections.
Former Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. said he is currently not facing any investigations involving corruption.
Baguilat reiterated that he will not go through the lengths of promoting Cordillera products had he been accepting kickbacks from the DPWH projects.
Misamis Occidental Representative Henry Oaminal also released a statement welcoming the investigations to be conducted on the issue to prove his innocence.
Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman also expressed her willingness to cooperate in any investigation to clear her name.
“I am open to any investigation to establish the truth on this matter and I am sure that my honor will be vindicated. My conscience is clear,” she said in a statement.
Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas, meanwhile, has insisted that his 12 years in public service has been unblemished.
“I am ready to submit myself to an investigation by the proper authority. Mere allegations are not proof,” he said.
Quezon Province Representative Angelina Helen Tan, meanwhile, challenge the PACC to visit the project in Gumaca and not base their allegations on anonymous tips and reports.
Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza said there might be former DPWH contractors who might have put his name on the list especially after his office exposed alleged anomalies in the department’s projects.
“Records and history will show that it was my office who exposed former elected officials and contractors for abandoning projects. Because of my call for an investigation, I believe no less than six (6) of them have already been blacklisted by the DPWH recently,” he said.
ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Eric Yap reiterated he was not involved in any DPWH bidding in Benguet. He is also willing to resign if proven guilty of the allegations against him.
Once the session resumes at the House of Representatives, Yap said he will file a motion to investigate Belgica regarding alleged anomalies in the Duty-Free Philippines. -AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.