President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday addressed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno about the temporary restraining order (TRO) the Supreme Court issued to stop the full implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) law that put hold the implementation of certain contraceptives.
In his second State of the Nation Address (Sona), Duterte asked Sereno to reconsider the TRO the high court issued on contraceptive implants such as Implanon and Implanon NXT, and remanded the authority to lift the injunction to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
Duterte said he has asked Health Secretary Pauline Ubial to consider selling the contraceptives to other countries instead since these are nearing expiry.
“Maybe I’m at fault. So I’m sorry. If I misquote or I did not have the complete facts. But itong Congress passed the Reproductive Health law. It was already a law na dapat i-implement (that should be implemented), because we are already going into family planning,” Duterte said.
“I am not for abortion, I am not for birth control, but certainly I am for giving Filipino family (the choice) of the size ng pamilya (of their family),” he added.
Duterte said the purchase of the contraceptives was not a “reckless purchase” because the government then did not expect a TRO to be issued by the high court.
“It was not really a reckless purchase, it was in preparation of the implementation of the law. Hindi naman akalain na mag-TRO (We did not expect it to be stopped by a TRO),” Duterte said.
“It has been two years, the medicines will expire next month. I told Ubial, the Health secretary to find out if there is a nation which would allow it and i-donate na lang (just donate it),” he added.
Duterte addressed Sereno again and said he does not blame her about the derailed implementation of the RH law.
“I do not blame you. You might be very busy or something. Ako (Me), I’m just below you, actually,” Duterte said.
Sereno only nodded and smiled to the President as shown by the live feed of the Sona.
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