MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has never issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, the constitutionality of which it had already partially upheld in an earlier decision, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Thursday.
“What has been issued was a TRO against two specific contraceptives regulated under the Reproductive Health Law. This pertains to two implants — Implanon and Impanon NXT,” Sereno said in a statement, in response to a portion in President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address last July 24 in which he assailed the SC’s supposed issuance of a “Temporary Restraining Order against the implementation of the RH Law and all contraceptive products.”
No such TRO against the RH Law itself was ever issued, Sereno said.
The TRO alluded against the two implants was issued by the SC’s Second Division in the consolidated cases of Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. et al. v. Hon. Janette Garin, et al. (G.R. No. 217872) and Maria Concepcion S. Noche, et al. v. Hon. Janette Garin, et al., (G.R No. 221866), Sereno pointed out.
These petitions against specific devices were filed long after the high court had already issued a ruling partially upholding the constitutionality of the RH Law.
“As clearly stated in the Decision dated August 24, 2016 and again in its April 26, 2017 Decision denying the Motion for Reconsideration, the TRO is limited to only to those two implants.”
The TRO, Sereno added, “also has a sunset provision — as soon as the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) certifies as provided by law that they are not abortifacient, the TRO is lifted. (Decision dated April 26, 2017, p. 21).”
Thus, she pointed out, “The reason why the TRO has not been lifted yet is not with the Court but with the FDA.”
Sereno said that “by the express terms of the Court’s Decisions, there is no TRO against the implementation of the RH Law or all contraceptive products,” as RH law advocates and the President’s SONA had made it appear.