MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has entertained doubt instead of clarifying it when it stopped the government from implementing Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, the Supreme Court’s youngest magistrate and latest Aquino appointee said.
In his dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said the high court should have listened to the debates of the pro and anti-RH Law before deciding whether to stop its implementation or not. Leonen is one of the 5 justices who dissented against stopping its implementation.
“I concede that we all cherish the same values congealed in constitutional provisions mandating the right to life albeit perhaps with its many incarnations. I also concede that we are still open to reasoned argument even as we may have tentative views on the law and how it squares with the Constitution. However, what we entertained was a doubt…we should have first clarified that doubt rather than to have acted on it,” Leonen said.
He pointed that a law enjoys the presumption of constitutionality unless there is clear proof that it runs counter to the Constitution.
“The presumption of constitutionality holds especially for this controversial piece of social legislation…,” Leonen said pointing out that the best way to exercise judicial prudence is wait for both the pro and anti-RH to file their respective comments, he said.
“Our Constitution expects us to be more deliberate in the heat of vociferous public debate that occasionally wades into issues of morality and conscience. We need to have all arguments laid out before us so that we can ruminate and discuss among ourselves how these square with our Constitution and our jurisprudence. The restraint we should impose on ourselves is not passive irresponsibility. It is constitutional duty,” Leonen said.
Voting 10-5, the high court stopped RH Law implementation for 120 days while a debate on the validity of the law will be conducted on June 18.