Palace on petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Law: Leave it to Supreme Court

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020   •   472

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang will leave the Supreme Court (SC) to decide on petitions filed against the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Law.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace will abide by whatever the ruling of the SC will be on petitions questioning the constitutionality of the measure.

“The Palace will leave it to the SC to decide on these petitions and will abide by whatever the ruling is,” he said in a statement Sunday.

The Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last Friday, July 3 despite strong opposition from various groups over concerns of possible violations of human rights.

On Monday, various groups physically trooped to the Supreme Court to urge it to stop the enforcement of the new law, claiming that the measure contained provisions that are in possible violation of the Philippine Constitution.

On Saturday, a group of lawyers and educators submitted the first petition against the controversial law.

Malacañang earlier said that prior to its signing, the measure underwent thorough review by the chief executive and his legal team.

Nevertheless, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said groups opposing the law have the right to lodge their petition against the law.

“Iyong sa pagkuwestiyon nila sa ating Anti-Terrorism Law sa Supreme Court ay karapatan nila; hindi natin pipigilan iyan at we’ll even encourage them,” he said.

Esperon also reiterated that the measure aims to stop those who threaten, proposed and incite terroristic acts, and not people who abide by the law or those who express dissent.

He likewise stressed that the law clearly defines who are those considered as terrorists, and this does not include activists or people who only voice out their concerns and criticisms over social injustices.

“Itong ating law-abiding citizen ay walang dapat ikatakot dahil itong Anti-Terrorism Law ay para sa kapakanan at para sa seguridad ng mga law-abiding citizens. Ito ay ginawa para labanan natin ang terorismo. Ngayon, kung sino ang nagsasabing ito ay para sa kanila at tahimik naman sila eh huwag silang mababahala,” Esperon said.

The Anti-Terrorism Council is set to convene to review the law and draft its implementing rules and regulations, which will be submitted to Congress. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

SC employees under A4 group receive COVID-19 vaccine shots

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday announced it has started the inoculation of its employees who are included in the government’s A4 or fourth priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination program.

In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the vaccination was held at its Training Center in Padre Faura, Manila, in coordination with the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Department of Health, and the city government of Manila.

“The immediate vaccination of Court employees is among the short-term plans for the Judiciary of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo,” the high court said.

The Supreme Court earlier said that more than 1,900 judiciary personnel have been infected with COVID-19; 33 of them died and 115 are active cases.

More than 30,000 judiciary personnel have been included in the A4 sector of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program. The A4 priority group includes frontline personnel in essential sectors, uniformed personnel, and local officials.

The SC PIO said that upon Gesmundo’s assumption into office, the court partnered with the Philippine National Red Cross and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS- CSB) on the use of the temporary isolation and quarantine facility for the employees of the Judiciary working in the ‘National Capital Region (NCR) Plus who are infected with COVID-19.

“Likewise, the Court has established an Emergency Care Unit (ECU) at the SC Compound in Manila which will temporarily accommodate and house the employees of the High Court and third-level courts afflicted with COVID-19 and are awaiting hospital confinement or referral to appropriate quarantine facilities,” it said.

The ECU has a total capacity of 55 beds to temporarily accommodate confirmed COVID-19 patients, either asymptomatic patients or with mild or moderate symptoms, who are awaiting transfer to quarantine facilities or hospital confinement due to room or bed unavailability, it added.

SC eyes releasing body cam guidelines by July

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) is eyeing to release the guidelines on the use of body cameras in police operations by July.

SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the high tribunal will tackle the matter starting June 15.

“The proposed rule is to be taken up as soon we resume session on June 15. And our colleagues have submitted their respective inputs. Hopefully and I’m optimistic that maybe after 2 or 3 deliberations we will come up with the final version,” he said.

“Our judges know the responsibility that they have to comply with what the Constitution and the Rules of Court should provide. So, we hope that with the issuance of these rules on body-worn cameras, these issues will be addressed specifically. It’s in the works. By July perhaps, we will have the final version and we’ll approve it for implementation immediately,” he added.

The proposed body-worn cameras was recommended after reports of corruption and abuse by authorities. Based on the record of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are over 7,000 cases related to suspects getting killed during the government’s anti-drug campaign.

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has previously ordered the use of body-cameras during operations in the NCR. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

SC modifies interpretation of ‘psychological incapacity’ as ground for nullity of marriage

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) has modified its interpretation of ‘psychological incapacity’ as a ground to nullify marriage.

“The Court in the case of Tan-Andal v. Andal, G.R. No. 196359, unanimously modified the interpretation of the requirements of psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage found in Article 36 of the Family Code,” the SC said in a statement released on Wednesday (May 12).

Under the the new Leonen ruling, it said that “psychological incapacity is not a medical but a legal concept.” Due to this, testimony of psychologist or psychiatrist is not mandatory in all cases to prove psychological incapacity.

“[Psychological incapacity] is a personal condition that prevents a spouse to comply with fundamental marital obligations only in relation to a specific partner that may exist at the time of the marriage but may have revealed through behavior subsequent to the ceremonies,” the new ruling stated. AAC

 

 

 

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