SC: No TRO vs RH Law

MANILA — The Supreme Court on Thursday clarified that there is no temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of programs under the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said that there is no TRO against the RH law but explained that the Aug. 24, 2016 decision of the high court that sustained the TRO earlier issued against the acquisition by the Department of Health (DoH) and distribution of contraceptive products Implanon and Implanon NXT to the public does not refer to the RH law.

The reports on the TRO came as President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 12 that mandates aggressive government action in providing universal access to RH programs.

Te noted that the high court gave a deadline for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to comply with the ruling and suggested that RH advocates should instead follow up such compliance with the said agency.

The SC has likewise ordered the DOH, for its part, to formulate rules for purchase and distribution of the said products and also to generate the complete list of government’s programs and services under the RH law for distribution to all health care service providers.

Te said the DOH should likewise be asked about its compliance with such order.

The said ruling issued by the high court’s second division rejected the bid of the DOH to proceed with the procurement and distribution of contraceptive implants.

The SC also struck down the certifications and re-certifications issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 77 contraceptive drugs and devices – including Implanon and Implanon NXT – for violation of constitutional requirement of due process.

The Court has found that the agency certified and administered 77 contraceptive drugs and devices “without the observance of the basic tenets of due process, without notice and without public hearing, despite the constant opposition of petitioners.”

“The Court is of the view that the certifications and re-certifications and the distribution of the questioned contraceptive drugs should be struck down as violative of the constitutional right to due process,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Jose Mendoza.

While the SC sustained the TRO and voided the certifications, it has remanded the case to the FDA for processing of new certifications. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/