MANILA, Philippines – The decision of the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the Reproductive Health law for 120 days drew mix reactions from senatorial bets of Team PNoy on Tuesday, one calling it an “extraordinary assault” against Filipino women and mothers.
“I am shocked. We have just signed the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) of the law and we were eagerly expecting the implementation of the law on Easter Sunday,” said former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, a staunch advocate of the law.
“Para bang inilibing nila nang buhay ang mga nanay na naghihintay para sa ating RH programs. Pinigilan nila ang pagkabuhay ng pag-asa na dala ng RH law (It’s like burying alive mothers waiting for RH programs. The hopes that would be realized from RH law are gone),” she said.
It was also “supremely ironic” that the SC decision to withhold the enforcement of the law, Hontiveros said, coincided with the celebration of Women’s Month.
Despite this, she urged the pro-RH majority to sustain the fight.
“The filing of the anti-RH petitions means that we cannot fold our banners yet. Not a single provision of the RH law should be conceded in the name of irresponsible sectarianism,” Hontiveros said.
“A status quo ante order upholds a status quo marked with maternal deaths, desperation and hopelessness for many Filipinos,” she added.
Hontiveros hopes that in the end, the SC would side with mothers and women by upholding the constitutionality of the law.
While he said he did not agree with the SC decision, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the ruling should be followed and respected, saying: “That is what our Constitution, our laws and due process dictate.”
“While I do not agree with the decision, I am glad that all of the contending sides of this highly contentious issue that divided our nation peacefully followed the law and legal processes in pursuing their respective beliefs,” Escudero said.
“This is a testament to our democracy and adherence to democratic principles,” he added.
Former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., meanwhile, called the decision “unfortunate, but expressed confidence that proponents of the law would be able to defend its constitutionality.
“The decision of the High Court is unfortunate. We trust the executive department and the legislators who pushed for its passage will defend the constitutionality of the law,” Magsaysay said in a statement.
“We need a law for certain. The RH law is simply to give options to the family,” he said.
Magsaysay said the full implementation of the law would have reduced maternal deaths and improved the overall productive of health women.