MANILA - The Supreme Court on Monday rescheduled again the 5th session of oral arguments on petitions against the new counterterrorism law for April 6, following a spate of new coronavirus infections.
"Due to alarming increase of COVID cases, you are hereby informed... of the suspension of the Oral Arguments scheduled on March 23," according to an announcement from the Office of Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta.
The oral arguments will resume at 2:30 p.m. of April 6, 2021, the document read.
On March 8, the high court suspended the oral arguments on petitions against Republic Act 11479 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 after some justices went on self-quarantine as precaution against the disease.
The high court in February also suspended a separate oral arguments session for the controversial law after a magistrate reportedly contracted the virus.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the anti-terror law in July 2020 despite heavy opposition over fears it could be used to crack down on dissenters.
Among the law's supposed contentious provisions are warrantless arrest, prolonged detention without charges, and the designation of any person or group as terrorists.
The high court on Feb. 2 began hearing oral arguments on petitions challenging the validity of the Anti-Terrorism Act. A total of 37 petitions were filed against the law by various groups, saying that some provisions may lead to human rights violations.
- With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News