Nene Pimentel: RH law should be aborted, thrown in garbage heap

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr - The Father of the Local Government Code

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr – The Father of the Local Government Code

Nene Pimentel: RH law should be aborted, thrown in garbage heap

July 10, 2013 3:38pm
Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. told magistrates of the Supreme Court that the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law should be “aborted” and “torched in the crematorium of oppressive policies” for being unconstitutional.In a memorandum, Pimentel, regarded as the Father of the Local Government Code, also said the law should be “dumped into the garbage heap in Montalban, Rizal,” as it allegedly “transgresses” the local autonomy of local government units (LGUs) and the regional autonomy of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The law also “tramples upon a person’s right to religion and equal protection of the law,” the former Senate head added.

“It is respectfully prayed that the RH Law should be aborted, abrogated and put to the torch in this crematorium of unconstitutional legislations, illegal enactments, and oppressive policies,” Pimentel said in his 29-page memorandum.

Pimentel, however, emphasized that the strongest “conceptual challenge” used by their camp is not merely on the law’s violation of the Local Government Code, but on their “unassailable argument that life begins at conception.”

Pimentel stressed that the SC is the “last democratic refuge of people who are deprived of their rights and liberties by opporessors in government, or out of it.”

Pimentel was supposed to present arguments to prove that the law violates the Autonomy of Local Governments and the Equal Protection Clause under Section 1 of Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution during the first day of the oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law at the Supreme Court Tuesday.

However, at the last minute, Pimentel decided to just submit a memorandum and skip the proceedings to give more time to his fellow lawyers who would try to convince SC justices of the supposed unconstitutionality of the law.

“Invalid invasion”

In his memorandum, Pimentel said that health services being prescribed under the law have been “devolved” to the LGUs and could be considered as an “invalid invasion on the autonomy of local and regional governments.”

He said the law weakend the autonomy of LGUs because of its incursion into the use of local and regional revenues and taxes.

Pimentel also assailed Paragraph 7 of Section 2 of the Declaration of Policy of the RH Law for stating that life begins not from conception but from implantation of a fertilized ovum at its mother’s womb.

He said the “misleading citations” of pro-life provisions in the Constitution would result in “malevolent implications.”

Pimentel accused the law of proactively pursuing population control by its unbridled endorsement of all sorts of harmful abortifacients in the guise of its promoting the health of women and unborn children.

To show how the law violated a persons right to religion, Pimentel claimed that the Philippine Medical Association has earlier bucked the measure when it was still in Congress.

“The PMA condemns the RH Law for compelling them as medical practitioners… to service their patients who need abortifacients regardless of their religious scruples,” he said.

Oral arguments

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, several justices grilled the first anti-RH lawyer to argue, Maria Concepcion Noche, and told her the high court might not be the right venue to air their grievances against the law, advising her to go the Food and Drug Administration to have the contraceptives they are oppossing tested first.

Some justices, meanwhile, agreed with Noche in her deinition that “conception” begins at fertilization, or when the sperm and egg meet. Other justices, meanwhile, like Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Marvic Leonen said the petitioners’ arguments centered on “medical questions” that the SC might not be able to answer.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the questions being raised by the anti-RH law petitioners might be too complex for the high court address, possibly leaving the tribunal with no choice but to exercise “judicial restraint.”

In his opening statement on behalf of the 15 petitions against the law, former senator Francisco Tatad said the measure violates a person’s freedom of choice.

The former lawmaker insisted that the law does not equally protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children. “That is simply putting family, its most intimate and private life, and their liberties under state supervision,” he said. — KBK, GMA News



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