Supreme Court derailed RH law, Lagman laments | Inquirer News

Supreme Court derailed RH law, Lagman laments

/ 04:46 PM January 13, 2017

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the primary author of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, on Friday said the Supreme Court had “pierced” the purpose of the law and “derailed” its implementation when it put on hold the distribution of certain contraceptives.

Lagman reacted to the statement of Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te who had been quoted in a report as saying there was no temporary restraining order (TRO) on the RH Law per se.

READ: No lifting of TRO on contraceptive implants, says SC

The Supreme Court issued the TRO only on contraceptive implants, such as Implanon and Implanon NXT, and remanded the authority to lift the injunction to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).


While there was no TRO on the law itself, the TRO “pierced” the purpose of the law when it made the distribution of contraceptive implants more “cumbersome,” Lagman said in a statement.


“Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te was splitting hairs when he reiterated that the High Court did not derail the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law (R.A. No. 10354),” the Liberal Party lawmaker said.

“While there is no direct injunction against the implementation of the RH Law, the Supreme Court has pierced the heart and soul of the RH Law by making the certification, procurement and access to contraceptives more difficult and cumbersome,” Lagman added.

The Supreme Court practically “derailed” the implementation of the RH Law up to the point that by 2018 the supplies of contraceptives may run out, he said.

READ: SC puts gov’t-procured contraceptive implants on hold

Lagman said the high court halted the certification and re-certification by the FDA of contraceptive products and devices pending its compliance with the directive to adopt a “more protracted quasi-judicial process” instead of the “regular and usual summary administrative process.”

“(T)he Supreme Court practically derailed the enforcement of the RH Law so much so that by 2018 contraceptive supplies are expected to dry up,” Lagman said.

Lagman said Te failed to explain that even though the TRO dated June 2015 covered only Implanon and Implanon NXT, the Supreme Court expanded the TRO in its August 2016 decision to cover the certification and re-certification of all contraceptives to be used under the RH Law, including those which have been traditionally used as safe and nonabortifacient.


Lagman said Implanon and Implanon NXT are “long-lasting, reversible hormonal contraceptive implants” that would prevent pregnancy up to three years, and may be chosen by women as a method of family planning.

Lagman also said that under Section 9 of the RH Law, the FDA is the primary authority to determine which hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and family planning products and supplies are safe, legal, nonabortifacient and effective.

“All that is required pursuant to Section 9 is a ‘certification from the FDA that said product and supply is made available on the condition that it is not to be used as an abortifacient,'” Lagman said.

“The findings of administrative agencies like the FDA are accorded highest respect and adherence by superior courts because of the former’s acknowledged expertise,” he added.

READ: Duterte signs EO backing modern family planning

Lagman made the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 12, entitled “Attaining and Sustaining Zero Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning Services through the Strict Implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, Providing Funds Therefore and for Other Purposes.”

The order seeks to intensify the implementation of the law especially after it was stalled by the TRO.

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One of the most vocal critics of Duterte, Lagman in a rare display of praise said the President’s signing of the executive order would “energize” the RH law./rga

READ: Duterte’s RH EO tames top House critic

TAGS: Edcel Lagman, RH law, Supreme Court

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