Palace, Lagman defend legality of RH law
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañanang and the author of the reproductive health law stood by its validity, saying on Wednesday, January 3, they are ready to defend it before the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, January 2, a petition was filed challenging the constitutionality of the law.
James Imbong, son of CBCP legal counsel Jo Imbong, filed the petition along with his wife Lovely and in behalf of his children. They said in their petition that Republic Act 10354, (entitled 'An Act Providing for a National Policy on Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health'), "mocks the nation's Filipino culture – noble and lofty in its values and holdings on life, motherhood and family life." He also said the law violates the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
They also asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the RH law, whose more controversial provisions include the promotion of the use of artificial contraception. President Aquino signed the RH bill into law on December 21.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the points stated in the petition filed by James Imbong and his wife had been raised before, and dismissed them as "nothing new."
Lacierda said the Office of the Solicitor General "will be prepared to defend the RH Law."
Meanwhile, Albay Rep Edcel Lagman, proponent of the RH bill, said the Republic Act 10354 or the Reproductive Health Law of 2012 law "will surmount any attack or test on its constitutionality."
Lagman debunked the arguments raised by the Imbong couple.
Lagman said that contrary to what they said, the RH law is not violative of Sec 12 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution which provides that the State "shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn."
Lagman said the "life" of the unborn is protected from conception and not before it, as the unborn under the 1987 Constitution does not refer to the fertilized ovum.
He stressed that a proposal to extend the meaning of the unborn as fertilized ovum was killed by the framers of the Constitution. Instead, what was adopted was that life begins at conception -- and only upon conception can there be an unborn.
Section 12, Lagman said, ensures that Congress will never pass a law legalizing abortion.
He added that the RH law is in fact anti-abortion, as it contains the provision that it "recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by Law" and that part of the reproductive health care is the "proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications."
Lagman added that Imbong's petition is premature, as it wants to stop the implementation of a law which is not yet effective.
A law shall take effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation. - Rappler.com