Appeal SC ruling on RH law, Miriam tells advocates

Rappler.com
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago believes the High Tribunal can still be convinced to declare as constitutional the provisions it had struck down in the RH law

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is urging RH supporters to convince the Supreme Court to declare the entire RH law as constitutional. File photo from the Office of Senator Santiago

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is urging supporters of the Reproductive Health (RH) law to file a Motion for Reconsideration of the Supreme Court ruling on the Reproductive Health law, which upheld the law but deemed parts of it unconstitutional.

In a statement on Thursday, April 10, Santiago said she believes there’s a chance to convince the High Tribunal to declare as constitutional the 8 provisions it had struck down in the law.

“I support with full enthusiasm the move to file motions for reconsideration.  I am fairly confident that a more exhaustive study of the principles of constitutional law will support a reconsideration of all 8 provisions,” said the senator, author and co-sponsor of the law.

She added, “I humbly believe that after due consideration, the SC will find that the presumption of constitutionality in favor of the law, and of good faith in favor of Congress, will be sufficient to convince the Court that all 8 provisions are not unconstitutional.”

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She cited principles in statutory construction that she believed mandate judicial affirmation of the 8 provisions in the RH law struck down by the SC, among them, that the RH law “enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, based on the respect of the judiciary for the legislature.”

“The presumption of constitutionality dictates that doubt should be resolved in favor of the law; and that the Supreme Court should reconcile the law with the Constitution,” Santiago said.

On the provisions thumbed down by the SC, the senator said “the Court should have granted to Congress the presumption of good faith and the presumption that legislative determination of factual issues is correct.”

Santiago said that under the law, the burden of proof is on the party who alleges unconstitutionality.

“In the 8 provisions, the petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof. It is not entirely clear what quantum of proof was applied by the Court to overcome the presumption of constitutionality,” she said.  

On April 8, the SC declared the RH law as constitutional, except for 8 provisions that were struck down partially or in full.

RH law authors in the House of Representatives have said that the SC ruling does not diminish the law. Senator Pia Cayetano shared the same sentiment in an interview with ANC’s Headstart on April 9.

“If one or two provisions would be stricken down, to me that’s acceptable, as long as the heart and the meat of the bill is still there. And it is, without a doubt,” Cayetano said, but qualified that she would have to see the full decision first. – Rappler.com

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