Justices vs justices over anti-terror law
President Duterte wanted a law that would strike fear among those who say bad things about his misrule. An obsequious Congress obliged and hastily passed the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) that allows his minions to keep anyone in detention for weeks on real or imagined charges of committing acts of terror supposedly meant to destabilize his administration.
Challenges against the constitutionality of that much-maligned law have been filed in the Supreme Court, which Duterte-handpicked justices now lord over. Pundits think those petitions have a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing the light of day. Would another petition filed by retired Supreme Court justices themselves — Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales, both also known to be in the crosshairs of the current regime — fare any better?
Both Carpio and Morales are no intellectual lightweights. The big difference their petition can probably make is to jolt the incumbent Supreme Court justices into sitting up and doing their darndest to find the best and most plausible arguments to destroy that challenge. No matter how palpably biased they may be, those sitting justices cannot afford to resort to meandering perorations as they often would with respect to pesky petitions filed by ordinary mortals who just suffer the insult in silence. Their own intellectual credibility and right to be in the highest court of the land are being challenged, too.
As we keep our fingers crossed, we hope there would be no more of the balderdash about “humanitarian reasons” (as in the Enrile case), or the fabricated necessity of pinpointing the “principal plunderer” (as in the Arroyo case), or the nauseating gobbledygook about a “hero’s burial” for the most villainous president this country has ever had the greatest misfortune of enduring for decades.
Rey Chavez Escobar
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