by Joel Roja/Asianjournal.com
THE Supreme Court has denied the request of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to create special courts that will handle cases filed for violation of the controversial Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act, also known as the “Anti-Terrorism Law.”
Instead, the Court, in a minute en banc resolution directed the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to monitor all cases involving terrorism, “and see to it that the judges concerned shall set these cases for continuous trial” as stated in Section 48 of the HSA.
The ATC through its secretariat, retired Police Deputy Director Marcelo Ele, earlier asked the Court to designate Regional Trial Courts in Manila, Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City to act as special court for terrorism cases.
In an interview, SC spokesman, lawyer Jose Midas Marquez said the justices do not see any necessity yet to designate special courts to handle terrorism cases.
“We find no reason yet to create special courts for that because the regular courts can still handle cases related to terrorism if there is any,” Marquez said.
The HSA took effect on July 15, 2007 despite strong opposition from various cause-oriented groups claiming that the law will lead to human rights abuses.
The Court has yet to act on the petitions filed by concerned groups and individuals seeking to scrap the Anti-Terrorism Law.
The government, however, maintained that there is no provision in the HSA which constitutes a violation of the Constitution.