Philippine anti-terrorism law

Carpio reminds SC of past cases in latest push for anti-terror law TRO

Lian Buan
'Petitioners have more than demonstrated their compliance with the requirements for injunctive relief,' says the motion

In filing a reiterative motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or an injunction against the anti-terror law, retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio and his co-petitioners recited a string of past Supreme Court decisions to back their argument that there is strong basis for the urgent issuance of a TRO. 

Laid out in a 12-page motion, Carpio said the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) has created an “extreme urgency of the need for injunctive relief.”

The Carpio motion first cited the Filipino Metals vs Secretary of Trade decision, saying that an injunction can be issued without a declaration that the law is unconstitutional. 

That decision, Carpio said, only needs the petitioners to make a strong case that they have a “clear legal right to the remedy sought.”

The motion said that Carpio and his co-petitioners have made critical statements against the Duterte administration, which makes them vulnerable to the anti-terror law, slammed as a wide crackdown on dissent.

This is their clear and legal right to injunction, said the motion.

“Petitioners have more than demonstrated their compliance with the requirements for injunctive relief,” said the motion.

Irreparable injury

Carpio then cited the case Del Rosario vs Court of Appeals to argue that the Supreme Court was given the power to issue an injunction in order to “prevent continuous irremediable injury.”

Carpio used the decision in Philippine Virginia Tobacco vs Judge Delos Angeles to say that “irreparable injury” is injury that is “not susceptible to mathematical computation.”

Violation of human rights, freedom of speech, and the right to liberty “constitutes grave and irreparable injury,” said the Carpio motion.

“Human rights are delicate and vulnerable…and they need breathing space to survive, permitting government regulation only with narrow specificity,” the motion said, citing another decision.

“Thus, petitioners have demonstrated clear and irreparable injury: the grim reality remains that even before charges have been brought to the court, a Filipino shall have been chilled to silence for fear of warrantless arrest, detention for a maximum of 24 days without charges, designation as a terrorist, freezing of assets, and restrictions on movement,” said the motion.

To wrap it up, Carpio cited another decision to remind the Supreme Court that an injunction’s “sole basis is to preserve status quo until the merits of the case can be fully heard.”

“This Honorable Court must step in to prevent any imminent and threatened enforcement of the ATA, especially with the effectivity of the ATA IRR. These developments will surely disrupt the status quo as law enforcers rob herein petitioners of the free exercise of their previously unhampered Constitutional liberties,” said the motion, referring to the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Oral arguments

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the en banc will only be able to decide by mid-November when they would hold oral arguments. Peralta said they are waiting for the justice-in-charge to identify common issues in the 37 petitions to come up with groupings for a more orderly hearing.

It has been 3 months since the anti-terror law’s effectivity.

In the case of past contentious laws, the Supreme Court issued a TRO against the cybercrime law within a month of effectivity, and a TRO against the reproductive health law within 3 months of effectivity. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.