On Monday, April 28, beating the deadline by a heartbeat, Manila Times columnist (on leave) Atty. Alan Paguia and spouses Francisco S. Tatad and Mrs. Fenny Tatad–who are original petitioners to have the entire RH law declared unconstitutiona—filed a motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court decision declaring the Reproductive Health Law “not unconstitutional.”
Most of the Philippine media have described the High Court ruling in March as a “win-win” for both the anti RH Act and pro sides.
Many faithful Catholics, including those of us in The Times, have expressed the joyful opinion that it is in fact a victory for the anti-RH Law, pro-Life movement and anti-abortion and anti-artificial contraceptive cause because the majority of the justices struck down the provisions that most blatantly defy the provisions of the Constitution. And the law also makes it abundantly clear that, contrary to the pro-abortion side, life begins at fertilization, not when the fertilized ovum (that already has the distinct, unique and individual DNA of the individual human being in the form of the zygote) has finally implanted himself or herself in the mother’s uterus.
The Justices, God bless them, made eminently pro-Life statements when they obliterated the unconstitutional provisions of the RH Law as passed and enacted. They declared it “not unconstitutional” only after they had purged it of the unconstitutional and human-rights-destructive provisions.
The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the pious and most respected Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, the Most Reverend Socrates Villegas, right after the High Court announced its decision, promptly called on anti-RH Law workers and activists to “maintain their respect and esteem for the Supreme Court,” and to move on “from being an RH-law reactionary group” and become “truly Spirit-empowered disciples of the Gospel of life and love.”
Perhaps, the CBCP President could have been more charitable to those campaigners against the RH Law whom his statement unwarrantedly called “a reactionary group.” We know hundreds of anti-RH law activists who go to Mass daily, see their confessors weekly and pray for friends and foes alike, apart from being examples of cheerful charitableness and philanthropy who just cannot abide the idea that the government should play a role in deciding how many children Filipino couples should have and take away from parents the natural right to be the first educators of their children on morality — including sexual morality.
They are not at all RH law reactionaries. They live as truly Spirit-empowered disciples of the Gospel of life and love.
This is why we endorse the motion for reconsideration filed by Atty. Paguia and Mrs. And Mrs. Tatad.
The RH Act as it now stands is still unconstitutional because our Constitution does not allow the Philippine State to practice population control, which the law now orders the Philippine government to undertake, mobilizing government clinics to serve as dispensers of condoms and contraceptive pills.
Here are some of the words of the motion for reconsideration addressed to our honored justices of the Supreme Court:
“The Constitution does not grant the State the right or the duty to manage or control the most intimate private lives of individuals and couples, especially with respect to their conjugal rights and duties. To the contrary, the Constitution commands the State to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. This is completely and absolutely incompatible with the State being the provider of contraception and the preventer and destroyer of conception.
“The Constitution further guarantees the separation of Church and State, freedom of religion for all, and the right of couples to found a family according to their religious beliefs and moral convictions. Yet the RH law substitutes the State’s secular and profane ideas for the teaching of the Church on this deeply moral and religious question.
“This bedrock objection proposes no conflict between those who believe in the practice of contraception and those who oppose it. Everyone is free to practice what they believe. Contraception is freely ongoing, without having to depend on the RH law, whose operation remains suspended. The constitutional conflict is between the individual and the family on the one hand and the State on the other. And the real issue is the freedom of the individual against the State’s undue interference in the most intimate and inviolable private life of the individual.”