Nationwide round-up (12/01/20)

Supreme Court head to retire a year ahead of mandatory age

CHIEF Justice Diosdado M. Peralta will be retiring on March 27, 2021, a year ahead of the mandatory retirement age, the Supreme Court (SC) confirmed on Tuesday. SC Public Information Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka said Mr. Peralta confirmed the “purported letter” to his fellow justices, “signifying his intention to avail of early retirement.” Mr. Hosaka told reporters via Viber, “The Chief Justice did not elaborate further but said that he will make a formal announcement in due time.” Mr. Peralta, appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte as chief justice on Oct. 23, 2019, will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2022. He was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as associate justice on Jan. 13, 2009. His career in the judiciary started in September 1994 with his appointment as presiding judge of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 95, a special criminal court on heinous crimes and later on drug cases. He was appointed to the Sandiganbayan in 2002 and became its presiding justice in 2008. Mr. Peralta is the third chief justice appointed by Mr. Duterte, following the ouster of former justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno based on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida. Mr. Duterte previously appointed retired magistrates Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Lucas P. Bersamin. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Rules on removal from terrorist list underway

THE rules for removal of names in the government’s terrorist list under the Anti-Terrorism Act are underway, a Department of Justice official said on Tuesday. “We are in the process of crafting the rules. We hope to submit the rules for the ATC’s (Anti-Terrorism Council) consideration within the month,” Justice Undersecretary Adrian F. Sugay told reporters via Viber. “I understand that there is a meeting set for next week. We will try to finish the rules before then,” he added. Under the law’s implementing rules and regulations, the ATC’s resolutions naming those linked to terrorism will be published in a newspaper, on the online official gazette, and on the council’s official website. A named party may file a verified request for delisting to the council within 15 days from the publication of the list. The request should be on grounds of mistaken identity, relevant and significant change of facts or circumstance, newly discovered evidence, death of designated person, dissolution or liquidation of designated groups, or any other circumstance showing no basis for designation. The Supreme Court is set to conduct oral arguments on Jan. 19 on the more than 30 petitions filed against the law, which took effect on July 18. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

US gov’t to give P875-M fund for HIV/AIDS program

THE United States government will give $18.2 million or about P875 million worth of assistance to the Philippines for efforts to prevent and control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, its Embassy said on Tuesday. The amount will be provided over two years through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded program. “The PEPFAR program will address the increasing number of people who are living with HIV in the Philippines, which has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region,” the Embassy said in a statement, issued on World AIDS day. Citing data from the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau of the Philippines, the Embassy said more than 110,000 Filipinos are living with HIV as of this year. About 37,000 have not been diagnosed, while the 18,500 previously diagnosed have not enrolled in life-saving antiretroviral therapy. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

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