Miriam: SC decision a triumph of reason over superstition

Posted at 04/08/14 6:31 PM

MANILA - Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said the Supreme Court decision declaring constitutional most of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law is a “triumph of reason over superstition.”

Santiago said she “loves” the high court for facing the “fears of a nation, and swept them away like cobwebs.”

“The Supreme Court opinion is, to quote a landmark case, a decision upon clashing interests resolved exclusively by the force of reason, according to law, without the power of armies, the weight of patronage, or imposing pomp,” she said.

She said she will support any motion for reconsideration on the eight items declared unconstitutional by the high court.

One such provision is section 7 insofar as it “requires private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an emergency or life-threatening case…to another health facility which is conveniently accessible.”

Section 7’s take on “allowing minor parents or minors who have suffered a miscarriage access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardians” was also struck down.

Santiago, a seasoned lawyer and judge, said the law enjoys the presumption of constitutionality. This presumption “dictates that doubt should be resolved in favor of the law; and that the Court should reconcile the law with the Constitution.”

She also noted that the burden of proof is on the one who alleges unconstitutionality.

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

She said the SC should have given Congress the presumption of good faith in assessing that all its factual issues – where the law was anchored – are correct.

“I am fairly confident that a more exhaustive study of the principles of constitutional law will support a reconsideration of all eight provisions,” she added.