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SC stops implementation of RH law, sets oral arguments on June 18

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MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court stopped the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law and set the oral arguments on June 18.

During Tuesday’s en banc or full court session, voting 10-5, the high court issued a 120 day status quo ante (SQA) against the law’s implementation.

Tfhe 10 justices are Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Bienvenido Reyes.

The five justices are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Estala Perlas-Bernabe, Mariano Del Castillo and Marvic Leonen.

An SQA is issued to preserve the last actual peaceable and uncontested status before the litigation or filing of a petition which means it is as if there is no law to implement yet.

There are at least 6 petitions filed with the high court by James Imbong, et al., Expedito Bugarin, Eduardo Olaguer and the Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines, Serve Life Cagayan De Oro City, et al., Task Force for Family and Life Visayas, Inc. and Valeriano Avila, and Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc.

Petitioners argued that the Republic Act 10354 or the Act Providing for a National Policy on Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health “mocks the nation’s Filipino culture—noble and lofty in its values and holdings on life, motherhood and family life—now the fragile lifeblood of a treasured cultured that today stands solitary but proud in contrast to other nation.

They said the new law violates the Constitution which upholds the ideal of an unconditional respect for life and aspires for the establishment of policies that create opportunities to harness the economic potential of every Filipino.

But Akbayan Partylist national chairperson Risa Hontiveros, in her separate petition, said the anti-RH petition should be dismissed.

In a 51-page motion, petitioners told the high court that the RH law will help the government stop maternal deaths and misconceptions about reproductive health.

Contrary to allegations of anti-RH advocates, she said the new law does not legalize abortion in the country.

“[W]hile the petitioners mistakenly allege that RA 10354 will legalize abortion in the Philippines, a plain reading of the text of the said law makes it clear that abortion is expressly and repeatedly proscribed therein,” the motion stated.

They said, all the arguments raised in the petition, from the issue of constitutionality to various medical and scientific details of contraception to the objections of various religious groups were discussed at length in Congress.

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