SC grants IBP request to talk with fishermen in West PH Sea Kalikasan suit

Robie de Guzman   •   July 16, 2019   •   1060

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday granted the request of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for more time to talk with Zambales and Palawan fishermen who were involved in a petition for the West Philippine Sea.

SC Public Information chief Brian Keith Hosaka said the high court has decided to grant the IBP’s motion for extension of time to confer with clients to comply with SC’s order to move in the premises in the Writ of Kalikasan suit.

“Supreme Court En Banc has granted the ‘motion for extension of time to confer with clients and obtain special authority’ filed by the IBP on behalf of the petitioners in the case of Abogado et al. vs DENR et al. GR No. 246209 last July 12, 2019,” Hosaka said.

A “move in the premises” resolution means that the parties involved are obliged to inform the Court of pertinent developments to the case which may be of help to the Court in its immediate disposition.

The IBP earlier asked the SC to give them time to confer with the fishermen in Zambales and in Palawan so “they can more appropriately act on the developments in the case” after the government claimed fishermen involved in the case have disowned the petition.

READ: IBP wants time to talk with fishermen in West PH Sea Kalikasan petition

Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier said 19 of the fishermen who were named as petitioners backed out from the case, saying they had no knowledge of the Writ of Kalikasan suit seeking for the protection of the West Philippine Sea. Of the total 37 petitioners, 13 said they did not sign their affidavits while 24 signed but presented no identification.

A Writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy available to persons or groups whose right to a balanced and healthy ecology is threatened or violated.

The IBP was given until July 19 (Friday) to talk with their clients and comply with the SC’s order.

Oral arguments for petitions vs anti-terror law set in September – SC

Robie de Guzman   •   August 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hold oral arguments on the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act.

In a statement, the Supreme Court Public Information Office said the oral arguments are initially set for the third week of September “at the earliest.”

“The proper notices will be issued once the date is finalized,” Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Hosaka said.

The Supreme Court En Banc also ordered the consolidation of the last six petitions with the earlier 19 petitions filed against the law. It also gave respondents 10 days to comment on new petitions.

In all, there are 25 petitions lodged against the measure which has yet to be fully enforced.

Petitioners argued that the vague and broad provisions of the law can be used to silence government critics for fear of being tagged as terrorists.

Lawmakers who authored and sponsored the measure, however, maintained that the law has enough safeguards against abuse.

SC suspends transfer of convicted inmates to BuCor due to COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the courts in the country to temporarily suspend the issuance of commitment order for the transfer of convicted inmates from detention facilities to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

In a circular posted on the Supreme Court’s Twitter page, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that all convicted persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who should have been transferred to the BuCor should remain in the facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) from July 29 to August 31, 2020.

This is in line with the request of BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag to the Office of the Court Administrator to temporarily suspend the issuance of commitment orders to BuCor to prevent the further contamination of COVID-19 and to minimize the movement of inmates.

Both the BuCor and the BJMP have recorded cases of COVID-19 in their facilities with reported fatalities.

Detained persons awaiting or facing trials are placed under the custody of the BJMP while those convicted are under the BuCor.

DOJ hopes SC will rule on merit, not personalities behind petitions vs anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday expressed hope that the Supreme Court will resolve the questions on the legality of Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 based on the merits, and not the number and personalities behind lawsuits.

“All these petitions, no matter how many they are, will boil down to a common set of constitutional issues. The Supreme Court will resolve these issues on the merits of the arguments advanced by the parties concerned, and not on the basis of their number or personal or professional stature,” Guevarra said.

At least 16 petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court against the controversial measure which came into effect this month.

Among those who questioned the validity of the law were law professors and former officials of the Executive branch and retired Supreme Court Justices.

The petitioners questioned the vague and broad provisions of the law that may lead to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement and malicious prosecution of innocent people.

Petitioners also urged the high court to declare the entire law unconstitutional and to stop its implementation.

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