Not so fast: Sotto says DOH should report to Senate, Supreme Court before distributing contraceptives

Image from Senate of the Philippines
  • Senator told DOH to wait for Supreme Court to lift TRO before distributing contraceptives
  • He said health department should also submit reports to Senate and SC
  • Health secretary, on the other hand, said FDA’s certification automatically lifted TRO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Tito Sotto claimed the Department of Health (DOH) must wait for the Supreme Court to lift its Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the distribution of the 51 contraceptives already certified as non-abortifacient by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

“Kailangan munang ideklara ng Supreme Court na lifted ang TRO [The Supreme Court should first declare the TRO lifted],” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying.

The senator, a known opponent of Reproductive Health Law when it was still a bill, said the DOH should also submit a report to the Senate and the Supreme Court for the two bodies to ascertain whether the contraceptives in question are really safe.

“Magandang magkaroon sa Committee on Health. Sa Amerika o sa ibang bansa, iba ‘yung sinasabi ng findings nila e, hindi nagtutugma sa atin,” he said.

[It would be good for the Committee on Health to be informed. In America or other countries, the findings state differently, it doesn’t jive with ours.]

For his part, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he respected Sotto’s opinion but stressed that the SC explicitly called for the automatic lifting of the TRO once the contraceptives have been certified.

“We respect the opinion of Senator Sotto. But there is a law which the executive branch is mandated to execute. We can only make sure to the good senator that we will reasonably execute or implement the provisions of RH Law,” he said.

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno previously explained that the TRO on the contraceptives was a mere “sunset provision” which would be lifted after the FDA certified the questioned contraceptives.