SC sets sked on RH Law oral debates

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2013 04:12 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2013 12:12 AM

MANILA - The 14 petitioners against Republic Act (RA) No. 10354, also known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 and commonly known as RH Law, will have their chance to convince the Supreme Court (SC), via oral arguments, on July 9, Tuesday, to junk the said law.

In an advisory, the high court said that the petitioners will be tasked to handle the following issues within the 55 minutes allotted to them:

1) Former Sen. Francisco Tatad - 5 minutes; opening statement

2) Atty. Maria Concepcion S. Noche - 20 minutes; whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the "right to life" provision of the 1987 Constitution, particularly the right to life of the mother and her unborn child from conception, and the right to health of the people; whether or not the high court may exercise its power of judicial review "despite the alleged lack of an actual case or controversy"; whether or not the 120-day status quo ante order (SQAO), which expires on July 17, should be extended

3) Atty. Luisito Liban - 15 minutes; whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the provisions in the 1987 Constitution which "guarantees the freedom of religion... of speech," academic freedom, and proscription of involuntary servitude

4) Former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. - 10 minutes; whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the "autonomy of local governments," and the "equal protection clause" of the 1987 Constitution

5) Atty. Luis Ma. Gil Gana - 5 minutes; whether or not RA No. 10354 violates the Organic Act of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The respondents, led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, will be entitled to the same amount of time (55 minutes) and same number of speakers to present their side.

The magistrates of the high court will have their chance to pose questions on each speaker, after he/she shall have delivered the arguments.

Should the arguments and interpellation by the magistrates not be completed on July 9, the high court has set aside July 23 for the continuation of the RH Law oral arguments.

Due to the expected volume of audience, the high court adopted a "no pass, no entry" policy for the RH Law orals. Projector screens shall also be put up in the SC Division Hearing Room, SC lobby, and Court of Appeals (CA) auditorium for those who may not have the opportunity to observe the presentations inside the SC Session Hall.