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Past legislators lead anti-RH law debates


Former Senators Francisco Tatad and Aquilino Pimentel Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Past legislators are expected to lead the debates on the Reproductive Health law at the Supreme Court Tuesday.

Former Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Francisco Tatad are two of the five who will represent the 14 petitioners questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act (RA) No. 10354, also known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza
will lead the arguments for the RH law.

In an advisory, the high court said it would give the government and petitioners against the RH law 55 minutes each to present their case.

The order by which the five will present the case against the RH law are:

1) Tatad who will deliver the opening statement.

2) Lawyer Maria Concepcion S. Noche will argue for 20 minutes on whether or not:

* RA No. 10354 violates the “right to life” provision of the 1987 Constitution, particularly the right to life of the mother and her unborn child from conception, and the right to health of the people;

* the high court may exercise its power of judicial review “despite the alleged lack of an actual case or controversy” and

* the 120-day status quo ante order (SQAO), which expires on July 17, should be extended.

3) Lawyer Luisito Liban will have 15 minutes to discuss whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the provisions in the 1987 Constitution which “guarantees the freedom of religion… of speech,” academic freedom, and proscription of involuntary servitude.

4) Pimentel Jr. who will have 10 minutes to talk about whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the “autonomy of local governments,” and the “equal protection clause” of the 1987 Constitution

5) Lawyer Luis Ma. Gil Gana will have five minutes to discuss whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the Organic Act of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The high court justices will question each speaker after he/she shall have delivered their arguments.

Due to the expected large number of people who will listen to the arguments, the high court adopted a “no pass, no entry” policy for the RH Law orals.

Projector screens will be put up in the high court’s Division Hearing Room, high court lobby, and Court of Appeals (CA) auditorium for those who may not have the opportunity to observe the presentations inside the SC Session Hall.

Petitioners are:

*Almarin Centi Tillah and Abdulhussein M. Kashim;
*James and Lovely-Ann Imbong;
*non-profit group Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (ALFI);
*Serve Life Cagayan de Oro City; *Task Force for Family and Life Visayas Inc.;
*lawyer Expedito Bugarin;
*Eduardo Olaguer of the Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines;
*Philippine Alliance of Ex-Seminarians Inc.;
*Dr. Reynaldo Echavez;
*former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad and wife Ma. Fenny;
*a group of doctors represented by lawyer Howard Calleja;
*Millennium Saint Foundation Inc.;
*a group of Catholic students represented by the legal office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; and
*Catholic lay group Couples For Christ Foundation (CFC).

The petitioner-intervenors in favor of RA 1053 are:

*the Catholics for Reproductive Health and Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood, Inc.;
*former Akbayan Representative Ana Theresia Hontiveros;
*former health secretaries Esperanza Cabral, Jamie Galvez – Tan and Alberto Romualdez Jr.;
*the group of 2005 Bar topnotcher Joan De Venecia;
*Senator  Pia Cayetano, sponsor of the measure in the Senate; and
*Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, author of the law in the House of Representative.

Named respondents in almost all the petitions were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Education Secretary
Armin Luistro, and Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Originally posted at 08:44 am | Monday, July 9, 2013

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Tags: oral arguments , Politics , RH law , Supreme Court

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