MANILA, March 21, 2013 – Following the Supreme Court’s issuance of a status quo ante (SQA) order against the Reproductive Health (RH) law, officials of the Catholic Church and life advocates expressed jubilation over this “temporary victory” and urged the laity to use the given time to prepare for the oral arguments set by the high tribunal on June 18.

The SQA order, which resulted from the 10-5 voting of the high court’s en banc session on Tuesday, postpones the implementation of the controversial measure for 120 days.

In a statement posted in their website, Pro-life Philippines said the cool-off period must be used by life advocates “to plan, strategize, mobilize, regroup, and pray” in preparation for the upcoming discussion of RH arguments.

“The supporters of RH will not stop until every letter of the law is implemented and the culture of death reigns in our nation,” the statement read.

“This is a time for thanking God and our Blessed Mother on this feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. This is also a time for praying for all the Supreme Court justices that they may continue to uphold the constitution and that those in power will do their utmost to protect the weak and the poor,” it added.

The 10 justices who voted in favor of the SQA order were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, and Bienvenido Reyes.

The five justices who dissented were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Estala Perlas-Bernabe, Mariano Del Castillo, and Marvic Leonen.

Essence of responsible parenthood

Pro-Life Philippines added in its statement that the true meaning of responsible parenthood is “to follow God’s will, and to educate and take care of your child so that he may imbibe Godly values that will guide him all his life.”

The group also noted that continuous prayer is needed to advance the cause of life advocates despite the opposition thrown by staunch RH supporters.

“We pray that our country may continue to step towards the right path, guided by the light of Christ and strengthened by the values handed down to us by our forefathers,” the statement read.

‘Temporary victory’

In an earlier interview, Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), recognized the respite brought by the postponement of the law’s implementation  to Filipino Catholics.

“The SQA order gives us some respite. However, it is a temporary victory,” he said. “Nonetheless, it is still a grace of God especially that we celebrate today the solemnity of St. Joseph, the Guardian of the Holy Family.”

He urged the lay people not to stand complacent and to still act on ways that could bear long-term beneficial effects to the Church.

Castro noted that the high court’s reconsideration of the numerous appeals filed against the measure is a good sign that the judiciary gives ample time to hear the side of all parties concerned.

“The high court has listened to our prayers against the RH law, barely more than a week before its scheduled full implementation,” he said.

Castro also reminded the public to uphold Church ideals and make use of the upcoming midterm elections to elect candidates who share the same beliefs and aspirations for the country.

“This means that we should be more active in our campaign against the RH law,” he said. “This is a challenge to voters to vote candidates who are pro-life and pro-family.” (Jennifer M. Orillaza)