SC order vs 2 contraceptive implants ‘final, executory’
The Supreme Court has made final its order barring the government from procuring, promoting and distributing two contraceptive implants in a move that may further draw censure from President Rodrigo Duterte.
The high court’s Second Division has issued an entry of judgment on its decision on Aug. 24, 2016, making permanent the temporary restraining order (TRO) it imposed on the purchase and distribution of Implanon and Implanon NXT, according to Theodore Te, the tribunal’s spokesperson.
Te said the ruling covered only the two implants, contradicting Mr. Duterte’s claim that it stymied “two provisions” of Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RH) Act of 2012.
The 15-member tribunal unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the RH law a year before the TRO was issued by its Second Division.
Not all contraceptives
“The decision and resolution of the court in the referenced matter, which involves a TRO over two implants only and not all contraceptives and not over the entire RH Law, became final and executory,” Te said in a statement.
The entry of judgment was issued on June 15, which was made public only on Aug. 31, or two days after Mr. Duterte lashed out at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno anew for “sitting” on the case.
Delivering a speech in Malacañang, the President said: “Until now, two years ago, the medicines have expired. Sereno is sitting on it. What’s the problem ma’am? We spent money. We bought medicines, but they are now expired.”
“And yet you call us for slow movement. There is something terribly wrong with our country. I tell you. Very, very wrong,” he said.
But Sereno, who is facing an impeachment complaint in the House of Representatives, is not a member of the Second Division, which is chaired by Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Carpio himself has been on the receiving end of tirades from the President for criticizing the Duterte administration’s policy on the country’s territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.
The TRO did not refer to the use of “medicines” as Mr. Duterte had claimed, but covered implants made of thin rods that are inserted under the skin of a woman to prevent pregnancy for three years.
The court issued a resolution on April 27 that denied the appeal of the Department of Health and ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to hear the arguments of the opponents of the distribution of Implanon and Implanon NXT, Te said.
Moreover, the justices directed the FDA to make an assessment within 60 days on whether the implants were abortifacients.
Te said the ruling contained a “sunset clause,” which states that “after compliance with due process and upon promulgation of the decision of the [FDA], the [TRO] would be deemed lifted if the questioned drugs and devices are found not abortifacient.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.