MANILA — The Supreme Court has appointed retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno as amicus curiae in oral arguments on petitions questioning the Anti-Terrorism Act, the court announced Thursday.
Puno will be joining retired SC Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza as among friends of the court tapped for the proceedings. An amicus curiae is an experienced and impartial attorney whose opinion is sought by the Supreme Court to settle certain issues.
The High Court has, meanwhile, yet to act on a similar bid by former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, who earlier sought advise on the status of his bid to be appointed as amicus curiae.
A high court resolution dated Feb. 9 also said that the Court had denied a petition-in-intervention filed by 2 terror-tagged Aetas because of their pending case at a regional trial court in Olongapo City.
In their petition-in-intervention last week, Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos claimed they were tortured and falsely accused of terrorism, among other charges, and filed a petition-in-intervention alleging direct injury at the hands of law enforcers.
On Wednesday, they appeared in a briefing and said they were dropping the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) as their legal counsel, claiming the lawyers' group was exacerbating the charges against them.
A video posted on Facebook by the the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) showed the two, who are brothers-in-law, at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Olongapo City as they criticized the NUPL for allegedly maltreating them while handling their case.
In response, the NUPL said there was no coercion, and that the presser led by the NTF-ELCAC "was engineered to discredit the NUPL which is based on false conclusions and innuendos."
-- with reports from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News
More details to follow.