The Anti-Terrorism Act



At the hearing of the 37 petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, two former Supreme Court Justices expressed their views on the law as “amicus curiae” or friends of the Court. The two justices were Justice Francis Jardeleza and Justice Ricardo Puno. The latter Justice has succinctly and eruditely expressed the view that “we are to seek the right balance between individual liberty and national security.


This is not the case of all or nothing matter but a matter of more or less,” Puno said. He further reiterated that “The balance should not reduce individual rights into insignificance for they are inherent to human dignity. Neither should the balance put an end to the security of the people for they did not enter into a ‘suicide pact’ when they ratified the Constitution. The ideal is for us to be both free and safe” Puno further said. For retired Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, the petitions should be dismissed “for violating the hierarchy of Courts.”


By “violating the hierarchy of courts” he must have meant that since the Supreme Court cannot hear issues of facts, the petition should have been filed with either the Regional Trial Court or the Court of Appeals. Be that as it may, this writer is glad to note how the two erudite justices have expressed their individual views as “friends of the Court” or “Amicus Curiae” and it is our hope that the Supreme Court will give its due value and weight on views of the two justices as it considers the case before it.


Incidentally, I had the distinct pleasure of being with Justice Ricardo Puno as one of the members of the delegates to Sydney, Australia in Asean Parliamentary Union Congress years back together with four (4) other delegates from other Asean members. Justice Puno was the Chairperson of the Philippine group who were members of the Batasang Bayan (Legislative Advisory Council) then. We stayed in Sydney for one (1) week as we made a side trip to one of Australia’s industrial cities.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“GIVE A MAN A FISH AND YOU FEED HIM FOR A DAY; TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH AND YOU FEED HIM FOR A LIFETIME.”

STEPHEN R. COVEY


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, INVOKE HIS NAME; MAKE KNOWN AMONG THE PEOPLES HIS DEEDS.”

PSALM 105:1