Duterte to Sereno: Reconsider TRO on RH implants
(Updated, 7:03 p.m.) Is the Supreme Court’s restraining order hindering the government’s full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law? President Rodrigo Duterte thinks so.
During his second State of the Nation Address (Sona), Duterte said the high court should reconsider the restraining order it issued against subdermal implants that prevented the government from fully implementing the RH Law.
“The TRO (temporary restraining order) has become the bane of [government] projects,” Duterte said in his second State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Directly looking at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Duterte said “I will not attribute anything ma’am to the Supreme Court. “Maybe I’m at fault. So I’m sorry. If I misquote or I did not have the complete facts. But itong Congress passed the Reproductive Health law. It was already a law na dapat iimplement (that should be implemented), because we are already going into family planning.”
The high court on August 2016 issued a TRO on contraceptive implants such as Implanon and Implanon NXT, and remanded the authority to lift the injunction to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
Implanon and Implanon NXT are thin rods inserted under the skin, which release hormones that prevent pregnancy for up to three years.
The high court said that “it never meant to enjoin the processing of the entire gamut of family planning supplies that have been declared as unquestionably non-abortifacent,” adding that the injunction “was only subject to the condition that the respondents afford the petitioners a genuine opportunity to their right to due process.”
“I am not for abortion, I am not for birth control, but certainly I am for giving Filipino family (the choice) of the size ng pamilya (of their family),” he added.
The high court, however in a resolution issued last May, 2017 said that the government can proceed with the implementation of programs under the RH Law because the injunction order issued was not for the entire family planning supplies.
Duterte said he has asked Health Secretary Pauline Ubial to consider selling the contraceptives to other countries instead since these are nearing expiry.
Duterte said the purchase of the contraceptives was not a “reckless purchase” because the government then did not expect a TRO to be issued by the high court.
“It was not really a reckless purchase, it was in preparation of the implementation of the law. Hindi naman akalin na mag-TRO (We did not expect it to be stopped by a TRO),” Duterte said.
“It has been two years, the medicines will expire next month. I told Ubial, the Health Secretary to find out if there is a nation which would allow it and idonate na lang (just donate it),” he added.
Duterte addressed Sereno again and said he does not blame her about the derailed implementation of the RH law.
“I do not blame you. You might be very busy or something. Ako (Me), I’m just below you, actually,” Duterte said.
Sereno only nodded and smiled to the President as shown by the live feed of the Sona. IDL
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