Quantcast
Latest Stories

RH, ‘desaparecidos’ bills now laws

President signed without fanfare

By ,

Without fanfare, President Benigno Aquino III signed the reproductive health (RH) bill into law last Dec. 21.

It was signed together with the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act.

The highly contentious RH law provides “universal access” to reproductive health services and supplies such as contraceptives.

Unimpeachable administration sources confirmed to the Inquirer late Friday an initial report  from House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II that the measure had been signed by Mr. Aquino in Malacañang before the four-day long weekend began,  four days after it was passed by both chambers of Congress amid staunch opposition from the Roman Catholic hierarchy and prolife organizations.

The measure is now known as Republic Act No. 10354.

A member of the President’s inner circle, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, however issued an unequivocal confirmation to the Inquirer.

“I think RH has been signed, but I’m not sure when,” said Abad in a text message at 9:17 p.m. on Friday.

A Senate staff member said by phone that Mr. Aquino said he did not want “fanfare, so that it won’t be a controversy anymore.”

“It should be Malacañang that should announce it, not us,” said the staff member of a senator who voted for the passage of the measure. The staff asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Earlier Friday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte had been evasive when asked to confirm or deny speculations, which had been rife since last week, that the bill had been signed.

“We haven’t been advised yet by the Office of Executive Secretary or OES (Paquito) Ochoa. Allow me to explain also what happens (when a bill is up for the President’s signature).

“When the President signs a bill into law, it gets sent to the Office of the Executive Secretary for the RA (Republic Act) number, and for processing,” she said, referring to the process in which a signed copy of the law would be stamped with a barcode and go through “other validation.

The task of announcing the enactment into law of the controversial measure fell on the lap of Valte  during her regular interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan at noon on Saturday.

Although Mr. Aquino signed the measure before the close of office hours on Dec. 21, it took “some time” before the private office of the President and the Office of the Executive Secretary completed the process, said the administration sources.

 

Not to antagonize Church

“The reason the Palace is announcing it (Saturday) is because it took sometime to process it, and the Palace didn’t want to (antagonize) anti-RH people during the Christmas holiday season,” said one source.

“The bill had to be processed after signing,” said the other source, saying that the process had been completed on Dec. 27, giving Palace officials a day or two to announce it.

The sources confirmed that the Aquino administration was trying to avoid yet another confrontation with the Catholic Church in the run up to Christmas.

“The understanding was to announce it tomorrow, precisely, to avoid this (complication),” said the source.

The source was referring to an agreement to allow the Palace to make the announcement ahead of the House of Representatives. This, however, had not been followed.

Mr. Aquino could not be reached for official comment. He and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras are scheduled to return to the Palace on Saturday after a four-day vacation in the summer capital.

House Majority Leader Gonzales  confirmed the signing on Friday night, saying the measure officially became a law “without fanfare.”

The President was credited for providing a belated push to the RH bill, which was facing stiff opposition in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

He certified the bill as urgent soon after it was passed on second reading at the House, allowing the Senate to pass it on second and third readings on the same day.

Cornerstone

The cornerstone of RA 10354 is the State guarantee on “universal access to medically-safe, non-abortifacient, effective, legal, affordable, and quality reproductive health care services, methods devices, supplies.”

But it comes with the condition that they should not “prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

It also defines “reproductive health” as the “state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and process.”

“This implies that people are able to have a responsible, safe, consensual and satisfying sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so,” it adds.

An apparent compromise with anti-RH bill lawmakers is the guarantee that “reproductive health rights do not include abortion, and access to abortifacients.”

RA 10354 defines abortifacients as “any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb, or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s womb upon determination by the FDA.”

 First posted 12:31 am | Saturday, December 29th, 2012


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act , Benigno Aquino III , Neptali Gonzales II , President Aquino , Reproductive Health Bill , RH bill , RH law




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement