MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday said the oral arguments on the suits questioning the legality of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 has been rescheduled after personnel from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a notice sent to concerned parties, SC Clerk of Court Edgar O. Aricheta said the high court has reset the oral arguments to Feb. 2 "considering the meritorious request of Solicitor General Jose Calida that his Assistant Solicitor General and some staff who will attend the oral arguments have been tested positive for Covid 19".
The SC, in preparation for the oral arguments originally scheduled on January 19, has earlier issued strict health protocol ground rules including limiting media personnel to be allowed to stay at the ground floor lobby where a TV monitor will be set up.
They may record the proceedings through the monitor for purposes only of a later broadcast and the proceedings may not be aired live, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said.
Reporters covering the event are also required to submit a negative swab test result taken at least 72 hours before the oral arguments.
The ATA repeals Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007. It seeks the detention of suspected terrorists for up to 24 days with no warrant of arrest.
It also allows the police or the military to conduct 60-day surveillance with an allowable 30-day extension on suspected terrorists.
The law also imposes a 12-year jail term on a person who voluntarily or knowingly joins a terrorist organization. (PNA)