LIPA City, March 21, 2013—Lipa Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles expressed concern over the possibility that Malacañang might exert pressure on Supreme Court justices after the high court issued a status quo ante (SQA) order stopping for 120 days the implementation of the highly divisive Reproductive Health law.
“I won’t be surprised. They had long prepared for that. I think they enjoyed their congressional victory that they underestimated the wounded judiciary,” said Arguelles.
During deliberations on House Bill 4244 in December last year, the unusual presence of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, press secretary Ricky Carandang and Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda at the House of Representatives triggered reports that the Palace pressured solons by dangling the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in exchange for their vote for the measure.
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), who had attended the proceedings in the last session days, lamented the voting outcome and the apparent intervention of the Palace.
Arguelles added that the petitioners against the RH Law must now work double time and team up to prepare for June 18, when oral arguments begin. (CBCP for Life)