Miriam's "constitutional" follow-up to her "encyclical"
The Reproductive Health Act (Sponsorship speech part 2)
The meat of Senator Miriam Santiago's RH Sponsorship speech (Parts 2 and 3) rests in claiming that the enactment of the RH bill will enjoy a presumption of constitutionality. According to her since there is no clear constitutional prohibition, the passage of the bill would amount to a "legislative construction" of Article 2 Section 12 which is at the heart of the constitutionality issue.
I am not about to argue Senator Santiago's legal opinion point by point, for that is well beyond my reach. I would just like to point out that at least three legal luminaries do not share her legal constructions, and in fact flatly goes against them.
Here are the key passages of Senator Santiago's sponsorship speech.
In other words, Miriam says the Constitution does not prohibit the RH bill, and that the intention of Article 2 Section 12 may be constructed by the legislature.
Here I note that Fr Joaquin Bernas - a noted constitutionalist and member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission - clearly says otherwise.
Dr. Bernie Villegas, likewise a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and the actual sponsor of the said constitutional provision, is more specific.
Thus it is evident that Miriam Santiago's legal opinion on the Rh bill does not square with the legal positions of two prominent members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. In fact they contradict her and so it is incumbent for us to take Senator Santiago's opinion with a healthy dose of skepticism. At any rate, she avers that the Supreme Court would be tolerant of the passage of the RH bill in the event the ball is passed on to it. Now, if only she had come across Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona's earlier statements on the matter...
Again if only Miriam paid attention to other notable but contrary legal positions...she might not sound so self-assured. Before that time comes, I guess hell will freeze over first.