By Perfecto T. Raymundo
MANILA (19-Mar-2013) – The Supreme Court en banc Tuesday issued a 120-day status quo ante order against the implementation of Republic Act No. 10354 or The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
In a text message of SC Public Information Office Chief Atty. Theodore Te, it said the SC en banc issued a 120-day SQAO in the consolidated cases involving the RH Law.
The vote was 10-5 in favor of the issuance of the 120-day SQAO against the implementation of the RH Law.
Voting in favor of the 120-day SQAO are Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Martin Villarama, Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Bienvenido Reyes, Arturo Brion, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Diosdado Peralta and Roberto Abad.
Dissenting are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen.
The SC en banc also set the oral arguments on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 2 p.m.
Several petitions against the implementation of the RH Law are now pending before the SC.
Among the petitioners are former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, his wife, Fenny, and Atty. Alan Paguia.
Tatad is the author of several books and an international humanitarian worker for the family and human life, while his wife is a humanitarian volunteer worker for human life and the family here and abroad.
Their petition was directed at the Office of President Benigno S. Aquino III, who signed RA 10354 into law on Dec. 21, 2012.
The RH Law was to have taken effect 15 days after publication in two newspapers of general circulation.
The petitioners argued “the State cannot, as a general principle, routinely invade the privacy of married couples in the exercise of their most intimate rights and duties to their respective spouses.”
“The law is contrary to public morals and destructive of the harmony and peace of society,” the petition said.
“The individual has the right to live his or her intimate family life with utmost dignity without any undue interference from the State,” it added.
The petitioners further argued a married couple’s decision to practice birth control, regardless of the means or method to be used, “belongs to [them] alone, or in some exceptional cases perhaps to the woman alone, but under no circumstance is it to be imposed by any external entity or agent.” (PNA)