MANILA, July 27— Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Thursday clarified there was no temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the government’s full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law.
Sereno made the clarification in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on SC’s issuance of a TRO against the implementation of the RH Law and all contraceptive products.
”After its decision on the partial constitutionality of the RH Law, the Supreme Court has never issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law,” Sereno said in a statement.
Sereno said a TRO was issued against two specific contraceptives regulated under the RH law.
“This pertains to two implants—Implanon and Impanon NXT… As clearly stated in the decision dated August 24, 2016 and again in its April 26, 2017 Decision denying the Motion for Reconsideration, the TRO is limited to only to those two implants,” she said.
In a ruling last April, the SC rejected the DOH’s appeal on the TRO issued in June 2015 but also made clarifications on its coverage.
The high court held that it cannot lift the TRO prior to the summary hearing to be conducted by the FDA on the safety, efficacy, purity, quality, and non-abortiveness of the two contraceptive products.
This means that determining the safety of the two contraceptive products is now with the FDA, an agency under the Department of Health.
Sereno also reiterated the high court’s pronouncements in its ruling that the TRO does not cover the implementation of the RH law or any other contraceptive products.
Sereno said the lifting of the TRO on Implanon and Implanon NXT is now beyond the control of the high court.
“The TRO has a sunset provision – as soon as the FDA certifies as provided by law that they are not abortifacient, the TRO is lifted. The reason why the TRO has not been lifted yet is not within the Court but with the DFA,” the SC chief noted.
The SC specifically ordered the FDA “to observe the basic requirements of due process by conducting a hearing, and allowing the petitioners to be heard, on the re-certified, procured, and administered contraceptive drugs and devices, including Implanon and Implanon NXT; and to determine whether they are abortifacients or non-abortifacients.”
In the same ruling, the high court also directed the FDA to formulate rules for screening, evaluation and approval of all contraceptive drugs and devices to be used under the RH law.
The high court pointed out that it still cannot resolve the matter or lift the injunction because the FDA has yet to resolve the matter.
Implanon and Implanon NXT are thin rods inserted under the skin, which release hormones that prevent pregnancy for up to three years.