Episode 30: Constitutional

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/04/rh-bill-0408.jpg

A picture of the Pro-RH Law rally in Baguio that waited for the SC decision. Photo from inquirer.net – http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/04/rh-bill-0408.jpg

“The Court, after scrutiny of the various arguments and contentions of the parties…unanimously held that Republic Act No. 10354 is not unconstitutional…” – Theodore Te, Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office Chief, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Not unconstitutional.

Unanimous.

Music to my ears.

I cannot express how happy we are that, FINALLY, the RH Law has been upheld by the Supreme Court. This means that the Status Quo Ante Order has been lifted. This means we can finally get to work.

Congratulations to all those who fought long and hard to make this law a reality!

~ ~ ~

Some of those on the anti side have already started to spin their loss into a “win,” claiming the the striking down of 8 provisions as unconstitutional results in a “watered-down” RH Law, that it was really their goal all along to limit their challenge to only those 8 provisions.

Really?

A quick check of the 14 petitions, as summarized in the Supreme Court website, shows that, contrary to the claims of these “victorious” anti-RH advocates, all of the petitions prayed that the RH Law be struck down as unconstitutional in its entirety. (Note the use of bold, italics, and underline, for emphasis.)

To be fair, these spinsters may be referring to G.R. No. 207172 , one of only two anti-RH Law petitions to make an alternative prayer and specifically identified the provisions they wanted struck down. Indeed, in their alternative prayer, they asked that the following provisions be struck down as unconstitutional:

…declare Sections 7, 14, 23(a)(1), 23(a)(2)(i), and 23(a)(3) as invalid for being violative of the Constitution…

Out of the five provisions they asked to be struck down, four were partially invalidated. A provision-by-provision examination of what exactly was struck down by the Court, compared to what was argued by the petitioners in G.R. No. 207172, reveals that the Court did NOT, in fact, adopt their position in its entirety.

This makes it all the more interesting to read the main decision, as well as the nine separate opinions, that are forthcoming. Personally, I am especially looking forward to reading the opinion of Assoc. Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, who was the only justice who voted to uphold the law in its entirety – including the provisions struck down by the majority. (See the handy infographic that Inquirer.net made on how the Justices voted.)

What we can be sure of is that this is no “win” for the anti-RH. Contrary to their posturing, the RH Law has *not* been “significantly watered down.” Even with the loss of the provisions cited above, the RH Law retains much of what is needed to effectively promote reproductive health, especially in the provinces and far-flung areas where access is most difficult and challenging.

~ ~ ~

Originally, I was going to write a response to this blog post, because its author insisted I was only trolling him and wasn’t arguing intelligently. Of course, I let that comment pass – he was a newcomer to the #RHLaw thread on Twitter and hadn’t seen my prior posts – but then he had to go and call me and a few other RH advocates “twits,” selectively taking some of our tweets out of context to make us appear foolish. He even reversed the order of my tweets and removed the timestamp on them to make it appear as if my two unrelated posts were made in succession and in response to his single point.

I’m used to the hypocrisy and dishonesty of people who have taken it upon themselves to fight the RH Law, so none of this surprises me. In fact, it amuses me to think that this is what passes for intellect these days (apparently, the Internet says he’s a dentist, though he never divulges it on his blog; in fact it takes a LOT of digging to find out who he is from his blog alone, as he never divulges his identity there).

And then the Supreme Court press briefing came out. Suddenly, the RH Law was deemed constitutional.

Suddenly there was no need to break down his TL;DR blog post.

So, after some consideration and munching on a few Big Bang! bars, here’s my short, sincere, nuanced response to him:

Sucks to be wrong, doesn’t it? 😉

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