Peralta, Bernabe get top JBC votes in SC chief justice shortlist

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019   •   531

Supreme Court Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta (L) and Estela Perlas-Bernabe (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Diosdado Peralta got top votes from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in its shortlist for the next chief justice.

According to a copy of the shortlist released by the SC’s Public Information Office on Tuesday, October 15, both Bernabe and Peralta got seven votes.

Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., meanwhile, got four votes from JBC members while Associate Justice Jose Reyes received one vote.

The chief justice position will be vacated when CJ Lucas Bersamin reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.

Bersamin was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chief justice on November 28, 2018.

The shortlist has been submitted by the JBC to Duterte for choosing.

Under the Philippine Constitution, Duterte has 90 days to pick the next SC top magistrate.

More petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Act filed in SC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2020

Four petitions were filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 at the Supreme Court on Monday (July 6).

A group led by law professor Atty. Howard Calleja and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro filed their petition to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“We are not fighting this government. We are fighting the constitutionality of this law and this law should stand not only this constitution, not only this government but should stand the governments and constitutions of our children and of our children’s children. so we are fighting not only for today but for also the future of everybody, of every Filipino,” Calleja said.

Among the provisions questioned by Calleja and Luistro are the broad and vague definition of “terrorism”, the warrantless arrest, and the 24-day detention period upon suspicion of terrorism.

“The basic safeguard of our law is and of our rights is the constitution. if you violate the constitution then there are no safeguards,” Calleja said.

Lalong nagiging perpekto ang administrasyon kapag handa nilang pakinggan kahit yung mga batikos dahil dyan nagagawang mas mabuti. Kapag ang mga ang netizens natin ay nagtatanggal na ng mga posts nila, yan na ang epekto na ayaw natin mangyari,” said Luistro.

[The administration gets perfected when it is ready to hear out even the criticisms for they make things better. When netizens start to remove their posts, then, that will be the effect that we don’t want to happen.]

Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law, also filed a petition, stating that aside from what Calleja has pointed out, the anti-terrorism law will affect the teaching patterns in universities.

Kaya nga ang propesor, mga teacher o mga estudyante na magmumungkahi, mag-aaral ng halimbawa ng liberation theology, halimbawa na kalakip na dun ang pag-uusap sa arms struggle, e baka sabihin nila, proposal or inciting to terrorism na yan,” Sta. Maria said.

[That’s why professors, teachers, or even students will propose or study liberation theology, for example, and part of which is a discussion on arms struggle, it might be misconstrued as a proposal or inciting to terrorism already.]

Meanwhile, both Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman and the Makabayan Bloc are requesting the Supreme Court to release a temporary restraining order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction while the court has yet to decide on the filed petitions.

“All that a devious and underhanded law enforcer or prosecutor has to do is to conveniently invoke the killer proviso to stifle political dissent and peaceable assembly for redress of grievances,” Lagman said in a statement.

Lagman said the government must ensure that the rights of the common people for free speech will not be compromised by arrests that will be made against terrorists.

“What the government must pursue is the apprehension, prosecution and conviction, once warranted, of terrorists without ensnaring into contrived culpability persons who simply exercise free speech and peaceful assembly,” the lawmaker said.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate expressed concern that the said law might be abused and target even ordinary individuals.

“This will be weaponized not only against members of the progressive organizations but even members of the political opposition, ordinary individuals, maging miyembro ng media (even members of the media),” he said.

On the other hand, Malacañang said it is leaving the decision to the Supreme Court.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated criticizing the government will never be considered a crime under the Constitution.

“Every law passed by congress enjoys the heavy presumption of constitutionality,” he said. —AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

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)

Supreme Court to take up ABS-CBN plea vs NTC order on July 13

Robie de Guzman   •   June 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will tackle next month the petition of ABS-CBN Corporation against the cease and desist order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) which halted the network’s broadcast operations last May 5.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said they will discuss the ABS-CBN’s petition on July 13.

Peralta said the high court had to wait for comments from all parties mentioned in the petition before conducting deliberations on the plea.

“We waited for the comments of the House of Representatives, the lower house and the upper house and I think we only received the comments last Friday or last Monday,” he said during an online press conference on Thursday.

ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5, just hours after the NTC issued its order directing the media network to halt its television and radio broadcast operations due to expired franchise. The company’s franchise ended on May 4.

The media giant then filed a petition, urging the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the NTC’s closure order.

In its petition, the media company argued that the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.

The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.

ABS-CBN also pointed out the loss of revenues on the part of the company and the government in terms of taxes, as well as the welfare of its 11,000 employees due to the stoppage of its operations.

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