he Supreme Court will consolidate the issues in the more than 30 petitions questioning the anti-terror law in the country before setting oral arguments.

Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, speaking at the “Chief Justice Meets the Press” briefing on Friday, said the justice-in-charge will consolidate all the common issues in the 37 petitions and list down the issues that are different.

“We cannot proceed to an oral argument if we have not yet determined what actually are the issues, kaya ang suggestion namin sa (so our suggestion to the) member in charge, and she accepted our suggestion to come up with common issues,” Mr. Peralta said in the online briefing.

He said that he hopes the issues will be ready to be submitted at their regular session on Nov. 3.

The chief justice said they also have to set a preliminary conference to consult with the parties involved on the conduct of oral arguments so petitioners can send one lawyer to argue on the common issues.

Sa tingin ko (I believe that) by, before the middle of November, we can already agree on the date of the oral argument,” Mr. Peralta said. 

The Anti-Terrorism Act, which took effect on July 18, considers attacks that cause death or serious injury, extensive damage to property, and manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport and supply of weapons or explosives as acts of terrorism.

The law allows the government to detain a suspect in jail for 14 days, even without a warrant of arrest, from three days previously.

It also forms the Anti-Terrorism Council, made up of Cabinet officials, which can perform acts reserved for courts, including ordering the arrest of suspected terrorists.

The Office of the Solicitor General previously said that the law can be implemented even as the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are still pending, as it is not a condition for the law to take effect.

More than 30 petitions were filed at the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the Anti-Terrorism Act, mostly citing the warrantless arrest and violation of the principle of separation of powers, among others.

The IRR of the assailed law was approved last week. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas