Press Release
July 10, 2013

Transcript of Interview of Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
Re: The Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Principal Sponsor of RH Law and Intervenor in the SC case on RH Law
Supreme Court Lobby
09 July 2013

Q: How did you find the oral arguments?

A: I have defended the RH Bill; the RH Law noong bill pa sya. I've heard all the arguments and I'm not really surprised by anything. I stand by my belief that our law is constitutional because the allegation that they have made on equal protection, [that it is unconstitutional] by way of not protecting life, are unfounded. Because first of all, the right to choose is always there. It is written throughout the law that no one is being coerced to do anything, and it is also written throughout the law that only family planning methods that are considered safe, legal and non-abortifacient will be made available.

Q: Are you satisfied with the questions [of the justices]?

A: Ok naman, I am happy. A lot of information was deliberated on, and as far as I am concerned na-clarify ang mga questions siguro nila.

Q: What stood out?

A: There was a lot of clarification made on the fact that the intention of the law is to provide products that are non-abortifacient. Paulit-ulit na nabalikan yun, at yung ibig sabihin ng 'equally protect the life of the mother and child.' So ano ba ibig sabihin nun, and up to what extent ba pinoprotektahan ang life ng mother? Ano yung mga situation na you have to take some action and decisions that would protect the life of the mother? Those questions came out and also on the justiciability of the issue on whether tama ba yung pag-akyat sa Supreme Court.

Q: Pwede bang gawin ng Supreme Court na yung law, despite the hard work that was put into it by the Senate and House, ay ideclare nila na unconstitutional And yung mga pinagpaguran n'yo will all be for nothing?

A: Let me first state this: There is always the presumption of constitutionality, so hindi mabilis ang kamay ng korte, lalo na ng Korte Suprema, na ideclare na unconstitutional ang isang batas. That's a given already; that's one of our legal principles. So para mag-declare sya na unconstitutional ang isang batas, the first thing they would probably do is himayin ang mga provision and perhaps, seek out a provision which is unconstitutional. Most laws would have separability clauses, which would mean, if there is anything that is unconstitutional, one provision, the rest of the law would remain valid. So usually ganun ang situation.

Q: Ma'am kailan po mag-eexpire yung SQAO (Status Quo Ante Order), and by that time malamang wala pa pong desisyon ang Supreme Court noon?

A: Well the Supreme Court is aware that the SQAO is only until July 17 so I'm imagining that they would, maybe not decide with finality, but provide a resolution on that issue, on the SQAO, on whether they would extend it or not.

Q: Pero halimbawa pong wala [extension of SQAO) by July 17, ano po ang mangyayari?

A: Tapos na. Wala nang Status Quo.

Q: To the law, what would happen?

A: Then the DOH [Department of Health] continues to do its job of providing reproductive health services.

Q: How much is the budget [for RH]?

A: The law does not provide a budget but there is a budget [for RH], it's been in the budget, there are millions of pesos for pre-natal [services], millions of pesos for contraceptives. Cumulatively, it's quite a big amount but at the end of the day, we have 100 million Filipinos, what do you expect di ba? I'm not going to pretend that it does not cost anything. I mean health care costs something.

Q: Ma'am, comment lang po sa mga usapin na iniaangat ng mga petitioners? Sa tingin n'yo ba ito'y napag-usapan na dati o tama lang?

A: As far as I'm concerned I defended this bill meticulously and I haven't heard anything new. And nothing they say is new to me.

Q: May nakapagsabi po na tantamount to genocide [ang pamamahagi ng contraceptives]...

A: I've heard [the argument by anti-RH advocates] that for a man to masturbate is 'murder,' and so to say that that it is 'genocide,' then it tells us what kind of discussion we have.

Q: So it's [the discussion] not going anywhere...

A: No. I'm just saying let people draw their own conclusions. If these are the kinds of statements that the petitioners make, I leave it up to them to draw their own conclusions.

Q: Ma'am just to clarify, after the 23rd [July 23], at lahat ng mga petitioners tapos na po, ano po ang mangyayari?

A: Today there was only one issue. I believe the petitioners have two more. Baka sya matapos sya [Atty. Noche], pero may tatlo pa, o dalawa pa. So palagay ko sa [July 23] hindi pa kami tapos.

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