Speaker cautions SC over possible RH Law veto

Posted at 02/11/14 12:55 PM

MANILA - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte is standing up for the Reproductive Health Law, officially known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law, amid speculations it may lose the judicial review of the Supreme Court (SC).

In a statement, Belmonte "cautioned the SC to carefully consider that their resolution could be a veto against the will of majority of our people."

He said that while he fully respects the integrity, impartiality and independence of the Supreme Court, he also pointed out that law was passed after 13 years in Congress.

"It was realized despite pressure from religious groups and other sectors who worked just as hard to raise their issues against the measure," he said.

Belmonte pointed out that what is now contained in these so-called petitions against the RH Law were already given ample time to be heard, discussed and debated upon during the pendency of the measure in Congress.

"Remember that we have 289 House members who are individuals representing a broad spectrum of society. They are representatives directly elected to articulate what majority of their constituents want. Therefore the resulting law is a product of this painstaking process and is a democratic compromise."

"Each of these views have already been openly taken up numerous times before enactment and yet it has now become a law. Therefore, the anti-RH argument is now a minority view. We must therefore respect the desire of the majority which is to exercise their freedom of choice."

Belmonte maintained that this law is not at all about the promotion of abortion since it clearly states that having an abortion is illegal.

He said the law ends the "paternalistic treatment of women, and is supportive of their right to choose."

"It is a law that may even greatly reduce if not eradicate the tens of thousands of illegal abortions that are going on yearly in the country today, further endangering the lives of women and mercilessly killing their yet unborn children."

"I have faith the Supreme Court will take these essential matters into account in coming up with a decision that benefits the vast majority, just as we in Congress have done our role at responding to the majority's urgent need for this law."

Some 9 different petitions assailing the legality and constitutionality of the RH Law were filed before the Supreme Court. The deliberations on the RH law were done amid deliberations on other important issues like the cybercrime law, the disbursement acceleration program, the power rate hike, among others.