Quantcast
Latest Stories

Anti-RH groups not giving up, will go to SC

By , ,

Groups opposed to the reproductive health measure are not giving up even after President Benigno Aquino III quietly signed it into law four days before Christmas.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez welcomed the President’s decision not to make a “big fuss” of the signing, but said questioning Republic Act No. 10354 in the Supreme Court would be a logical next move.

“It’s always an option,” he told the Inquirer.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the low-key signing of the RH bill was proof of the administration’s ardent desire to move on from the highly divisive issue.

Catholic lawyers are preparing to question the constitutionality of RA 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, in the Supreme Court even as Malacañang called for reconciliation.

“The last recourse would be the Supreme Court,” said Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“But we need to know what amendments were introduced and further study the new form of the approved law. (It’s) time to move on.  The future will tell where wisdom has been,” he added.

RA 10354, which was published online in the Official Gazette on Saturday, will take effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation.

The law makes contraceptives more widely available, especially to the poor, and introduces schoolchildren to sex education.

The Philippines has one of Asia’s highest birth rates, with the United Nations estimating that half of the country’s 3.4 million pregnancies each year are unplanned.

Definitely not over

Maternal mortality also remains high, with 162 deaths for every 100,000 live births, while 10 women die every day from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications, according to the Commission on Women.

Rodriguez, who battled with RH bill proponents in the House of Representatives, said he would meet with like-minded House members and senators beginning next week to plot their next move.

“It’s not yet over, definitely not,” said Rodriguez, a former dean of San Sebastian College of Law.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of the RH bill in the House, said Mr. Aquino’s quiet signing of the bill on Dec. 21 was done “in order not to exacerbate the conflict with some Catholic bishops and start the reconciliation process to ensure widespread support in the implementation of the law.”

Still, the signing of the bill without fanfare did not sit well with some Church and law leaders.

 

‘Highly dishonorable’

Ricardo Boncan, spokesperson of the Catholic Vote Philippines alliance, said it was “highly dishonorable” for the President to sign the law in secret and away from the media spotlight.

“We find the nonpublicized signing of the RH bill into law by President Aquino to be highly dishonorable and unprincipled because he did it right after stating that he was in no hurry to sign the bill before Christmas,” Boncan said.

Catholic Vote Philippines is the alliance of lay Catholic groups that have vowed to oust pro-RH politicians in the 2013 elections.

“We will exhaust all legal remedies to fight this unjust, unethical and antipoor and antilife law,” Boncan said.

Official confirmation

On Saturday, a day after the media learned that the law had been signed, Malacañang urged critics of the measure to move on.

Reading from a prepared statement, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte officially confirmed the signing of the measure during an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

“The passage into law of the Responsible Parenthood Act closes a highly divisive chapter of our history—a chapter borne of the convictions of those who argued for, or against this Act, whether in the legislative branch or in civil society,” said Valte.

Valte enunciated the desire of the President and his Cabinet to end the highly acrimonious congressional and media tug-of-war that pitted the Aquino presidency against so many leaders of the Catholic Church.

Engagement, dialogue

She said that the law “opens the possibility of cooperation and reconciliation among different sectors in society: Engagement and dialogue characterized not by animosity, but by our collective desire to better the welfare of the Filipino people.”

But Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said the Church’s fight against the “culture of death” would continue.

“If such signing did not merit media and public attention, it only goes to show that such law is not meritorious at all,” Castro said.

Moral ‘time bomb’

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes blasted the President for “planting a moral time bomb” when he signed the RH bill into law.

“Indeed, P-Noy will be known as the RH president, which is not a title of honor. His conscience will be bothering him day and night because he has planted a moral time bomb in our Catholic country,” said Bastes.

“Our opposition to that immoral law will persist,” he added.

 

Drop in ratings

Boncan said the drop in the President’s approval ratings was due to his “lack of vision” and his “wrong priorities.”

“Instead of the RH bill, the FOI (freedom of information) bill and the antidynasty bills should have been given priority,” he said.

“It will definitely affect his (Liberal Party) candidates and Catholic Vote Philippines will not make people forget this come election time,” he added.

Asked why it took eight days before the Palace announced that the President had signed the RH measure into law, Valte said Mr. Aquino earlier mentioned that he wanted to sign it before the end of the year.

She said Mr. Aquino signed it on Dec. 21 because he would leave after Christmas for a vacation.

“And the President might be thinking that if he would be signing it after he goes back to Manila, it might not be processed (for validation and documentation) before the end of the year,” she added.

Valte said a clean copy of the law was processed when regular office resumed on Dec. 26, after a four-day Christmas break.

“So we received word that everything was finished late on Dec. 27. At least as far as the Communications Group is concerned, we deemed it best to wait for a couple of days before the announcement was made, given the level of intensity of the debates that were had on this matter. We deemed it best to wait a couple of days before the announcement was made,” she said. With a report from AFP


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: Abigail Valte , reproductive health law , Republic Act No. 10354 , Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 , RH law , Rufus Rodriguez , Supreme Court




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. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Massive infra spending set
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  8. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Avalanche sweeps Everest; 6 killed, 9 missing
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • 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’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • 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
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • 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

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement