SC appoints ex-Justice Jardeleza as amicus curiae in anti-terror law oral arguments

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2021 01:51 PM

SC appoints ex-Justice Jardeleza as amicus curiae in anti-terror law oral arguments 1
Then Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza explains the United Nations ruling on the West Philippine Sea case against China at a press briefing, July 13, 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Supreme Court has appointed retired SC Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza as amicus curiae in the oral arguments on petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act. 

This, while it still has yet to act on a similar bid by former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza.

In a resolution dated Jan. 26 but made public only on Friday, the SC en banc appointed Jardeleza as amicus curiae or friend of the court, seeking his views on the controversial anti-terrrorism measure.

Meanwhile, the high court only noted “without action” Mendoza’s Jan. 19 motion, which sought advice on the status of his bid to be appointed as amicus curiae.

An amicus curiae is an experienced and impartial attorney whose opinion is sought by the Supreme Court to settle certain issues.

In August last year, Mendoza offered to provide expert advice to the high court based on his long experience as top government lawyer, litigator and faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Law.

But several petitioners, including the group led by retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, opposed his motion, saying Mendoza is not impartial since he called for the dismissal of the ATA petitions and lacks the relevant experience in dealing with anti-terrorism measures.

SC TO SOLGEN: EXPLAIN PARLADE POST

In the same resolution, the Supreme Court required the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on the manifestation and motion filed by Carpio and his fellow-petitioners calling attention to a Facebook post by a certain “Antonio Parlade,” which red-tagged petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism measure. 

In the post, Parlade asked what’s the agenda of petitioners in opposing a law which seeks to protect Filipino citizens from terrorists, before calling some members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, who are also petitioners, Communist Party of the Philippines representatives.

He also warned: “Very soon, blood debts will be settled.”

Parlade, who holds a rank of lieutenant general, is the commander of the military's Southern Luzon Command and the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

He has a history of word wars with progressive groups due to his statements linking them to communist rebels.

Carpio’s group asked the SC to order the OSG to explain who made the post, if it was an official communication from the government or a public officer, and what was the intent, claiming it was designed to intimidate and interfere with the high court’s power to administer justice.

The post, according to Carpio, violated section 4 of the ATA defining terrorism as it sought to “intimidate the general public or a segment thereof” and “create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear.” 

The OSG was given 10 days to comment.

SC DENIES OSG BID TO CANCEL ORAL ARGUMENTS

The high court also denied the supplemental motion filed by the OSG seeking to cancel the oral arguments on the anti-terror law.

It was filed on Jan. 14 or a day before the SC announced the postponement of the oral arguments to Feb. 2 because of the OSG’s claim that an assistant solicitor general and some staff had tested positive for the coronavirus.

SC DENIES PETITIONERS’ PLEA FOR ALTERNATES

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court denied the plea of the petitioners for alternates to the 7 lawyers who will argue their cases to be physically present inside the SC En Banc Session Hall.

Petitioners named 6 lawyers — Randall Tabayoyong, Theodore Te, Josalee Deinla, Ephraim Cortez, Howard Calleja and Bantuas Lucman — to act as alternates.

The 7 who will argue for the petitioners are former Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, rights lawyers Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Evalyn Ursua, Algamar Latiph and UP constitutional law professor Alfredo Molo III.

The high court previously allowed 6 lawyers from the OSG to argue in defense of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The OSG manifested Solicitor General Jose Calida will present the opening statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the controversial anti-terror law in July last year despite heavy protests over provisions that petitioners say may lead to human rights violations. 

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more on iWantTFC