REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES SUPREME COURT Manila, Philippines JAMES M. IMBONG and LOVELY-ANN C.

IMBONG, for themselves and in behalf of their minor children, LUCIA CARLOS IMBONG and BERNADETTE CARLOS IMBONG, and MAGNIFICAT CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER, INC., Petitioners, -- versus -HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., Executive Secretary; HON. FLORENCIO B. ABAD, Secretary, Department of Budget and Management; HON. ENRIQUE T. ONA, Secretary, Department of Health; HON. ARMIN A. LUISTRO, Secretary, Department of Education; and HON. MANUEL A. ROXAS II, Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government. Respondents. x ----------------------------------------------------- x PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION Petitioners, by counsel, and to this Honorable Court respectfully state: Prefatory Statement 1. This case is an ideal vehicle for the Court to resolve serious constitutional questions arising out of Republic Act No. 10354 entitled “AN
ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH” (the Act). It represents an unprecedented

204819 G.R. No. ____________
For Certiorari and Prohibition, with a Prayer for a Writ of Injunction

challenge to an unprecedented statute because the Act implants an agenda that strikes at the heart of the people’s objective to establish a Government that shall “embody the ideals and aspirations” of the “sovereign Filipino people” as enshrined all over the Constitution.

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2. This case will present the illegality of the Act as it mocks the nation’s Filipino culture—noble and lofty in its values and holdings on life, motherhood and family life—now the fragile lifeblood of a treasured culture that today stands solitary but proud in contrast to other nations. 3. This Court should grant certiorari because the Act takes the meaning of police power to such a perilous level never before implemented in our Philippine shores, never before barging into our Philippine schools, never before impinging on our Filipino homes, never before debasing our Filipino youth, and never before paired against our Constitutional ideals and aspirations. 4. The petitioners maintain that the remainder of the Act cannot stand without the unconstitutional provisions. Questions Presented 1. DOES CONGRESS EXCEED ITS LEGISLATIVE POWERS AND VIOLATE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE CONSTITUTION WHEN IT
MANDATES A POLICY THAT NEGATES AND FRUSTRATES THE IDEALS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE SOVEREIGN FILIPINO PEOPLE ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION? THE EXECUTIVE EXCEED ITS POWERS WHEN IT IMPLEMENT A POLICY THAT NEGATES AND FRUSTRATES BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES?

2. DOES

THE REMAINING PROVISIONS OF THE WITHOUT THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS?

3. CAN

ACT

STAND

Nature of the Petition 5. This is an original petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with a prayer for a permanent injunction against the Chief Executive and its instrumentalities. The petition is filed as an original special civil action because there is no remedy of appeal from the acts of Congress and the President, and neither is there any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy available to petitioners in the ordinary course of law.

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Parties to the Proceeding 6. The petitioners are a family. Petitioners James and Lovely-Ann Imbong are spouses and became members of the Philippine Bar on 29 April 2005 and reside at The Magnificat Center, Km. 75, MacArthur Highway, Sindalan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga. They file this petition as citizens and members of the Philippine Bar pursuant to their solemn oath to “maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines” and “support and defend its Constitution xxx.” They also file this petition as parents and as a class suit in representation of other parents and individuals similarly situated. Petitioners James and Lovely-Ann Imbong are Catholics who have deeply-held religious beliefs upon which Faith their conscience is rooted against complying with the mandates of the Act. 7. Petitioner Magnificat Child Development Center, Inc., (the “Corporation”) is an educational institution duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with principal address at The Magnificat Center, Km. 75, MacArthur Hi-way, Sindalan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Petitioner corporation is a private employer covered by the provisions of the Act. Petitioner corporation is engaged in the operation of a school founded on Catholic religious principles that form the cornerstone of the values on life, motherhood and family life, in contradiction to the mandates of the Act. 8. The respondents are public officials having charge of the enforcement and administration of the Act and all laws relative to the conduct of their respective duties and functions as such. For this reason, the following respondents are sued in their official capacities and may be served summons and other processes at their respective offices at: 1) Hon. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Executive Secretary Office of the President of the Philippines Malacañang Palace, City of Manila 2) Hon. Florencio B. Abad, Secretary Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Malcañang, City of Manila 3) Hon. Enrique T. Ona, M.D., Secretary Department of Health (DOH) San Lazaro Compound, City of Manila 4) Hon. Armin A. Luistro, FSC, Secretary Department of Education (DepEd) DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City

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5) Hon. Manuel A. Roxas II, Secretary Department of Internal and Local Government (DILG) EDSA cor. Mapagmahal St., Diliman, Quezon City and through their statutory counsel, the Solicitor General, at 139 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Vilage, Makati City. Reasons for Granting the Petition
INTRODUCES POLICIES THAT NEGATE AND FRUSTRATE THE FOUNDATIONAL IDEALS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE SOVEREIGN FILIPINO PEOPLE AS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION.

1. THE ACT

CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE BOUNDARIES OF GOVERNMENT ACTION AS ESTABLISHED IN THE CONSTITUTION.

2. THE ACT

Arguments I. THE ACT
INTRODUCES POLICIES THAT NEGATE AND FRUSTRATE THE SOVEREIGN

FOUNDATIONAL IDEALS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION.

A. EVERY PROVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION IS AN EMBODIMENT OF AN IDEAL AND ASPIRATION OF THE SOVEREIGN FILIPINO PEOPLE BECAUSE THAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE CONSTITUTION WAS PROMULGATED AND RATIFIED BY THE FILIPINO PEOPLE THEMSELVES. 9. On June 2, 1986, forty-eight Filipinos were chosen by fate to meet together and thresh out in the most exacting language, a document that would embody what they deemed was best for our political, social, economic, ethical, spiritual, and moral future—in other words, a document that would best secure the future of our nation. That is exactly what they did for the next sixteen weeks, such that on October 15, 1986, they all agreed, to their satisfaction, to conclude their solemn undertaking by attesting to the creation of a new Philippine Constitution that begins with the following solemn declaration:

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“We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.” (Preamble) 10. Nowhere else in the Constitution will we read an express statement that directly answers the question: WHY did WE, the sovereign Filipino people, ordain and promulgate the Constitution? In other words, what are those “great national purposes and aims”1 for which reason the people have come to promulgate the Constitution? The Constitution supplies the answer in no unclear terms, as embodied in the Preamble itself, that is: 1. To build a just and humane society; and 2. To establish a government that shall: a) embody the ideals and aspirations of the sovereign Filipino people; b) promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony; and c) secure to the Filipino people and the people’s posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace. (Preamble) 11. And what are these ideals and aspirations for which the Constitution was promulgated to secure and to be embodied by the establishment of a government? On this point, it bears to stress that the Preamble was written and approved before any other textual provision of the Constitution was approved by the Commission. This fact reveals one thing: that the Constitutional Commission began its work having the “end in mind”. Thus, it goes without saying that the solemn burden of the Constitutional Commission was apparent from the very start: that for the next fourteen weeks, they were to be guided by the mandate of the Preamble: to found a Constitution that is truthful to the ideals and aspirations
1

See R ECORD OF THE C ONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION, 10 June 1986 Session, Resolution No. 72: RESOLUTION PROPOSING TO ADOPT A PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION, approved on 11 June 1986 Session.

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of the sovereign Filipino people. And so every time the Constitution is cited, it is by no accident that it is actually the ideals and aspirations of the people that are being sought as authority. 12. It is in this light that petitioners hold that the Constitutional Commission began with the promulgation of the Preamble not by accident, but rather by design. And that design is the same structure upon which this petition is being brought, such that at the end of the day, after all has been said, the question that should be asked is whether or not the subject Act creates a Government that embodies the ideals and aspirations of the “sovereign Filipino people”. B. AS REGARDS THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE AND ITS SUSTAINANCE, THE CONSTITUTION UPHOLDS THE IDEAL OF AN UNCONDITIONAL RESPECT
FOR LIFE AND ASPIRES FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICIES THAT CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO HARNESS THE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF EVERY FILIPINO.

13. The Constitution’s openness to human life is a simple, complete, and unconditional policy, as stated in Art. II, Sec. 12: “Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” 14. There is neither a charge nor qualification to that policy, except that the life of the mother is equally important as the life of the unborn—and rightly so. In fact, the charge is against the State itself—that it shall do one thing when it comes to the potential of human life: to protect it from the moment of conception. 15. In contrast, in the last paragraph of Section 2 of the Act, the State is now mandated to promote openness to life, qualified by a reference to the couple’s ability to raise their intended child or children in a truly humane way: “Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. – x x x

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x x x The State shall also promote openness to life: Provided, That parents bring forth to the world only those children whom they can raise in a truly humane way.” 16. This means that if a certain group of parents are not in a position to raise children in a “truly humane way”, the State has a duty not to promote openness to life as regards such parents. This conclusion is reflective of the policy enunciated in different parts of the Act, such as in the ninth paragraph of Section 2 that mandates the State to prioritize women and children in poor households; in Section 3(d) that makes reproductive health care services an essential component of health care for the poor; in Section 3(e) that mandates the provision of family planning methods for the poor; in Section 3(g) that mandates the national government to take the lead in providing reproductive health care to the poor; in Section 4(r) that prioritizes the delivery of reproductive health care to the poor; in Section 4(v) that defines “responsible parenthood” in light of the “economic concerns” of parents; in Section 11 that integrates reproductive health care into antipoverty programs; and in Section 17 that mandates free reproductive health services to indigents and low-income patients. 17. A plain reading of those provisions simply reveals the intention of the Act to bring reproductive health care services within easy reach of the poor. By doing so, the poor become the primary targets of the State’s planned-parenthood policy—a subtle way of telling the poor that the State will subsidize their right to have access to “modern” methods of family planning simply because they are poor. 18. On the other hand, the Constitution mandates a totally opposite approach that, to the contrary, empowers and encourages the poor to be direct agents of change and primary beneficiaries of social services and economic opportunity, as expressly stated in Article VI, Section 5.2 and Article II, Section 9: “Section 5. x x x 2. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, onehalf of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. x x x” (Underline ours)

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“Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.” 19. The contradiction is clear and unavoidable. On one hand, the Act mandates the use of public money to bring the poor closer to a culture of planned-parenthood through the provision of supplies and methods that will enable them to determine their ability to “bring forth to the world only those children whom they can raise in a truly humane way.” On the other hand, the Constitution mandates the State to bring the poor closer to receiving adequate social services, full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality life. 20. But is not State-subsidized planned-parenthood a form of social service? Is not State-sponsored family planning a form of poverty-reduction that leads the poor to a rising standard of living and an improved quality life? 21. The answer to those questions makes the contradiction more apparent. First, social service, according to the Act, is about bringing the poor closer to having fewer children, because, after all, who else are at a social disadvantage in bringing forth children whom they can raise in a “truly humane way”? The upper class? The middle class? The lower middle class? Or the poor? Second, social service, according to the Act, is about reducing the poor population by directly reducing their numbers. The Act does not say it that way, but it actually moves in that direction and leads the poor toward that path thru the subsidy incentive it provides them. 22. If that is how the Act redefines “social service” for the poor, what then do we make of the following express Constitutional provisions that demand from the State an active role in alleviating poverty and harnessing the economic potential of the every Filipino, rather than reducing their numbers?: 1. Constitutional mandate for the State to serve the people (Art. II, Sec. 4); 2. Constitutional mandate for the State to provide adequate social services (Art. II, Sec. 9);

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3. Constitutional mandate for the State to increase production of goods and services (Art. XII, Sec. 1); 4. Constitutional mandate for the State to provide decent housing for the homeless in urban centers (Art. XIII, Sec. 9); 5. Constitutional mandate for the State to promote productivity of citizens for nation-building (Art. XII, Sec. 14); 6. Constitutional mandate for the State to create economic opportunities (Art. XIII, Sec. 2); 7. Constitutional recognition of the economic potential of Filipino labor (Art. II, Sec. 18; Art. XII, Sec. 12; Art. XIV, Section 2.5); 8. Constitutional mandate for the State to promote full employment (Art. II.9, Art. XII.1, Art. XIII.3); 9. Constitutional mandate for the State to allow labor to have a just share in the fruits of production (Art. XIII, Sec. 3); 10. Constitutional mandate for the State to accelerate social progress (Art. II, Sec. 17); 11. Constitutional mandate for the State to establish an economic order conducive to the equitable distribution of opportunity, income, and wealth (Art. XII, Sec. 1); 12. Constitutional mandate for the State to prioritize equal distribution of wealth and political power (Art. XIII, Sec. 1); 13. Constitutional mandate for the State to prioritize the reduction of socio-economic-political inequalities (Art. XIII, Sec. 1); 14. Constitutional mandate for the State to provide quality education at all levels to all citizens (Article XIV, Sec. 1); 15. Constitutional mandate for the State to sustain the productive systems of the country (Art. XIV, Sec. 10); 16. Constitutional mandate for the State to promote productivity in all regions of the country (Art. X, Sec. 14);

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23. It is also worth pointing out that the Act refers to the poor consistently and repeatedly as preferred beneficiaries of State-sponsored planned-parenthood in many provisions of the Act. On the other hand, the Constitution refers to the poor sparingly and only in with reference to two policies: (1) the preference given to the poor as having a direct seat in Congress as a party-list representative (Art. VI, Sec. 5.2); and (2) the preference given to urban and rural poor dwellers against unjust and inhumane eviction form their dwellings (Art. II, Sec. 9). 24. People, as human capital, is a nation’s wealth. disclaimer in the Act that— Despite a

(l) There shall be no demographic or population targets and the mitigation, promotion and /or stabilization of the population growth rate is incidental to the advancement of reproductive health; (Sec. 2) the measures and programs in the Act, working together, will result in a decrease in an otherwise robust population growth rate, a dire consequence that puts to naught the modest but promising economic gains now seen in the country’s economy. 25. Petitioners respectfully request that the Court take judicial notice of the demographic trends that have brought about at this time the faltering economies of the erstwhile rich nations that have through many years strongly and actively adopted and enforced population control programs including abortion. 26. While these rich countries are frantically striving to reverse their mistakes and address their self-induced economic and demographic woes, respondents, through the Act, are embarking on a similar mistake, thereby jeopardizing our common good. Ben J. Watenberg, writing in Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future (2004, Chicago), found: “Never have birth and fertility rates fallen so far, so fast, so low; for so long, in so many places, so surprisingly. Depopulation is already proceeding in many of the modern developed nations. Europe is now losing about 700,000 people each year, a figure that will grow to about 3 million a year, or more, by midcentury. Russia alone is losing close to a million people each year. With the next few years Japan will begin losing population. The steep trend toward

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fewer children per woman in the modern nations has been near universal. x x x But what’s going on is not restricted to the well-to-do modern nations. The poorer, Less Developed Cuontries (LDC’s), still have higher birth and fertility rates than the rich countries. But rates in the LDCs are typically falling at a more rapid rate than ever experienced in the rich countries. As recently as 1970 the typical woman in an LDC nation bore 6.0 children per woman.” 27. Based on extensive demographic data on international trends from the United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects, 2002, Watenberg writes: Today, in the midst of a fertility free-fall, the rate is about 2.8 or 2.7 children per woman and rapidly continuing downward. Such patterns have beren observed in India, Indonesia, Brazil, Egypt, Iran, and critically, Mexico, only to begin a long list. 28. The Philippine demographic landscape presents a challenge to government. According to Jose Ramon G. Albert, Secretary General of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippines has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia with a median age of 23 years, considered as a major economic advantage moving forward, and this growing labor force can be beneficial to the economy assuming that enough jobs will be available whether here or overseas. 29. The Philippines’ demographic data, however, positions the country into the same demographic fall as the rest of the world. Philippine population growth has steadily declined from below 3.5 % in 1960 to below 2% or a just a little over 1.5% annually (already lower than the demographic replacement rate) in 2011.2 An Act that brings about an inexorable population decline will effectively erase the modest but promising economic gains proudly claimed by the country’s economic leaders and noticed by the world. Enforcing the Act is the same as “shooting ourselves in the foot” and like prodigals, throwing our winnings to the winds.

2

World Bank Data, Updated October 31, 2012. https://www.google.com.ph/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_grow&idim=cou ntry:PHL&dl=en&hl=en&q=population%20growth, Accessed January 1, 2013.

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30. Watenberg continues: “x x x If we are aware of the accelerating trends, we may want to try to shape our demography and consequently help shape our destiny. The advent of the New Demography portends a different world. Joseph Chamie, director of the UN Population Division (UNPD), puts it this way: There was the Industrial Revolution. There was The Information Age. Now there is the Demographic Revolution. At root the situation is fairly simple: the numbers of people on earth will grow by an ever-diminishing rate, level off, then begin shrinking. World population now numbers about six billion. That number will grow to eight to nine billion, depending on whose numbers you accept. Then population will decrease, perhaps by many billions. What is not so simple is how life plays out as this happens—who does it help and who does it hurt; why is it happening; can we do anything about it, whould we, and if so, what.” 31. Based on the foregoing, the following provisions of the Act must be declared unconstitutional: paragraph 9 of Sec. 2; the last paragraph of Sec. 2; Secs. 3(d), (e), (g), (i); Sec. 4(r); Sec. 7; Sec. 11; Sec. 13; Sec. 17. C. AS REGARDS THE VALUE AND EXCEPTIONAL STATUS OF THE FILIPINO FAMILY, THE CONSTITUTION UPHOLDS THE IDEAL OF AN
UNCONDITIONAL RESPECT FOR ITS INHERENT AUTONOMY AS AGAINST THE STATE ITSELF. SANCTITY AND

32. The Philippine Constitution is exceptional when it comes to the Filipino family, as expressed in Art. II, Sec. 12 and Art. XV: “Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” (Art. II, Sec. 12) (Underline ours)

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“x x x Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. Section 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. Section 3. The State shall defend: 1. The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood; 2. The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development; 3. The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and 4. The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them. Section 4. The family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.” (Art. XV) (Underlines ours) 33. The ideals of the Constitution on the family are apparent in these provisions: First, it recognizes its sanctity as a basic and autonomous institution. Second, it describes its natural character of being the seedbed of human life. Third, it celebrates motherhood. Fourth, it describes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Fifth, it defines the foundation of the Filipino family—marriage. Sixth, it expressly elevates the right of the parents beyond the reach of the State, insofar as the moral and civic development of the youth is concerned. Seventh, it lays a basic formula for its sustenance and health: (1) religious instruction of children from their parents; (2) proper nutrition and care; (3) a family living wage; and (4) participation in family policies.

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34. The use of the word “recognizes” in Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution signals the State’s acknowledgment that the attributes of sanctity and autonomy are inherent in the institutions of marriage and the family. This is a statement of recognition and acceptance of pre-existing and natural attributes that the State did not create nor infuse, hence, it can only acknowledge. 35. There is more. The sanctity of family and its natural and inherent rights precludes interference, such as regulation by the State. The sacredness of the bond—acknowledged by the State—underscores the supernatural nature of a spousal relationship, placing marriage and founding of a family beyond the reach of the State’s hand and prying influence. The autonomy of the family—further acknowledged by the State—reinforces and shields its sanctity from State and other intrusions. 36. These attributes of sanctity and autonomy protect the other functions of the family, particularly its role of parenting and nurturance. These include procreation and generation of offspring, the upbringing and molding of moral character of the children in the paths of goodness and virtue—functions which parents are meant to discharge by nature. 37. State-mandated and non-parental mandatory sex education of the content described in the Act unleashes a values revolution among the young, changes children’s attitudes and conceptions of the good life, a mind-set reinforced by media via a cultural message of individualism that that people who live “quality life” free and self-fulfilled are those people who have at most one or two children and who do not let their parental roles dominate their exciting lives. 38. The quality of life that the Constitution speaks of in Article II, Section 9 encompasses a moral life, since fostering the material well-being of children is only one component of parenting. And because marriage and family life are sacred institutions, the care for the heart and soul of them offspring is a major part of their nurturance. This completes the right “to found a family”, a founding set on a strong foundation of the parents’ religious convictions. 39. The exercise of the constitutional right of spouses to found a family is guided by their religious convictions. Responsible parenthood is embraced in religious belief on life and family and its exercise is tied to religious convictions, hence, religious belief on parenting is to be respected, not provoked into its violation. The key word is “respect”. This installs a “hands off” paradigm upon the State. It may not intrude into what is a natural spousal and family right. The state may not, for any excuse, regulate

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family and spousal decisions. Respect also necessarily demands and includes not creating the conditions for the free exercise of the right, untrammeled by contrary legislation. 40. There is more to the attribute of inviolability of the Filipino family. Inviolability protects the family’s moral culture built by the spouses from their traditions and religious upbringing into a virtual bloodline which contains family values, moral holdings, and virtue which are shielded from contrary teachings by the State through mandated sex education programs. Thus— “The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” (Art. II, Sec. 12, final sentence.) The key word is “support”, not “supplant.” 41. The Act provides: SEC. 3. Guiding Principles for Implementation.—This Act declares the following as guiding principles: x x x x x x (b) Respect for protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights which seek to promote the rights and welfare of every person particularly couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents; (Underline ours.) 42. The Act’s guarantee of choice and non-discrimination regardless of age supplants and overrides the primary domain of parents. The Act’s mandatory sex education program mocks the sanctity, autonomy and inviolability of marriage and the family, making these attributes meaningless empty embellishments. Its enforcement in all educations institutions—public and private schools, vocational and other systems—steals the heart and soul of children, inveigling and wresting them out of the family’s protective embrace. 43. On the other hand, the Act makes of the family an institution dependent on factors other than those outlined in the Constitution, as revealed by Sec. 4(v):

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“SEC. 4. Definition of Terms. – For the purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows: x x x x x x (v) Responsible parenthood refers to the will and ability of a parent to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children. It is likewise a shared responsibility between parents to determine and achieve the desired number of children, spacing and timing of their children according to their own family life aspirations, taking into account psychological preparedness, health status, sociocultural and economic concerns consistent with their religious convictions.” 44. Thus, based on the Act, the State has actually managed to establish additional characteristics that the Filipino family should now carry—characteristics which exact demands on parents (and prospective parents) that directly negate and frustrate the Constitution’s intention to limit a description of the Filipino family to what a Filipino family needs in general, and not what parents of those families should be or what they should have. 45. The contradiction is clear and unavoidable. On one hand, the Constitution respects the family for what, by nature, it is: unified and inviolable. Moreover, the Constitution further takes the family to an exceptional status when it mandates the State to: (1) protect the family and children from harm; (2) allow its participation in policy-making; and (3) assure its sustenance with a family living wage. It goes without saying that these are actually constitutive of the elements of “responsible parenthood”. Simply put, a responsible parent is one who (1) protects the life of the mother and unborn child with equal love; (2) rears children for their moral and civic development; (3) protects the family from harm; (4) ensures the family’s nutrition; and (5) seeks the ideal of a family living wage. 46. In fact, the above-cited provisions are actually demands on the State for its support, considering the clear status of the family as being the foundation of the nation. Hence, the demand for a family living wage, for example. 47. On the other hand, the Act introduces a certain kind of parenthood that exacts vague and broad demands on parents to the point that it makes of them an unintelligible and impossible task. As Section 4(v) reveals, “responsible parenthood” means having the psychological, physical, social, cultural, and economic preparedness to determine whether or not the parents’ desire to have another child is proper and timely.

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48. Based on the foregoing, Sec. 4(v) of the Act must be declared unconstitutional. D. AS REGARDS THE SOVEREIGN AND DEMOCRATIC NATURE OF THE PHILIPPINE NATION AND ITS GOVERNMENT, THE CONSTITUTION MANDATES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A GOVERNMENT THAT
EMBODIES THE IDEALS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE SOVEREIGN FILIPINO PEOPLE.

49. The mandate of the State in the Preamble of the Constitution is worth restating, that is: to establish a Government that is truthful to the ideals and aspirations of the sovereign Filipino people. 50. In flagrant contrast, Sec. 3(h) of the Act creates a novel and unprecedented policy of “tying the hands” of the State to so-called “obligations” under “various human rights instruments”—instruments which, are international in nature: “SEC. 3. Guiding Principles for Implementation. – This Act declares the following as guiding principles: x x x x x x (h) The State shall respect individual’s preferences and choice of family planning methods that are in accordance with their religious convictions and cultural beliefs, taking into consideration the State’s obligations under various human rights instruments; x x x” 51. This is patently contrary to the basic principle of the Constitution in Art. II, Sec. 2, giving legal recognition only to those international principles which are “generally accepted” by all civilized nations, thus: “Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.” 52. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a blanket adoption of principles contained in international “human rights instruments”. If formal acts of Government in treaties and international agreements require concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Philippine Senate before their effectivity (Art. VII, Sec. 21), what more for mere

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international “instruments”? In fact, when it comes to human rights, the Constitution mandates State compliance and monitoring on human rights obligations contained in “international treaties”—a principle which the Act cannot possibly supplant or expand. Moreover, the national interest, sovereignty and self-determination are paramount. “Sec. 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramoung consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.” (Art. II, Constitution) 53. That is why, Republic Act No. 386, as amended (The Civil Code of the Philippines) provides that: “Art. 17. x x x Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object public order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.” 54. Based on the foregoing, Sec. 3(h) of the Act must be declared unconstitutional. E. THE CONSTITUTION
IS A PROTECTOR OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THOUGHT AND ACTION AGAINST ANY SUBSTANTIAL BURDEN OF GOVERNMENT INTRUSION.

55. The Act threatens petitioners and others similarly situated with penalties for expressing their religious beliefs and professed values relating to life and family values through teachings, talks, and public discussions with parents and other audiences. Art. II, Sec. 5 of the Constitution states: “Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever

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be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.” 56. This provision means more than just the freedom of a person to believe in the tenets of a religion. It also means the freedom to act or not to act according to what a person believes. On this point, the disquisition of this Honorable Court in Centeno v. Hon. Villalon-Pornillos, 236 SCRA 197 (1994), is worth restating, thus: “The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by law. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion. Thus, the constitution embraces two concepts, that is, freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be. x x x Whence, even the exercise of religion may be regulated, at some slight inconvenience, in order that the State may protect its citizens from injury. x x x” 57. In Sec. 17 of the Act, the State is given the power to mandate persons and institutions to provide reproductive health services to indigent and low-income patients. In Sec. 23(a)(1) of the Act, the State is given the power to prosecute any health care provider who intentionally provides incorrect information on any matter covered by the Act insofar as reproductive health and family planning is concerned. In Sec. 23(a)(3) of the Act, the State is further given the power to require a conscientious objector to “refer” a potential reproductive health care patient to another provider. In all these cases, the violator can be prosecuted and, if found guilty, be imprisoned from one (1) month to six (6) months and/or fined Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) to One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos. 58. In goes without saying that these provisions do not bring a mere “slight inconvenience” to a conscientious objector who is commanded to do as the Act prescribes contrary to his religious convictions. Nothing can be more burdensome to a person’s freedom of religion than to act (not act) under pain of criminal prosecution and imprisonment. 59. Under the same principle, Sec. 23(a)(1) of the Act is a direct and flagrant violation of Art. II, Sec. 4 of the Constitution, which states:

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“Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.” 60. Based on the foregoing, Sec. 17, Sec. 23, and Sec. 24 of the Act must be declared unconstitutional. F.
THE GRANT OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AS DESCRIBED IN THE ACT CREATES DOUBTFUL OR SPURIOUS RIGHTS.

61. The Act states: Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy.—The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human development, the right to health which includes reproductive health x x x” x x x The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights. (Underlines ours.) while Section 3 states: “Reproductive Health (RH) refers to the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. This implies that people are able to have a responsible, safe, consensual and satisfying sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. This further implies that women and men attain equal relationships in matters related to sexual relations and reproduction.” (Underlines ours.) 62. The grant and guarantee of reproductive health “rights” to “all persons” (which will include children and adolescents), and the State policy to remove (eradicate) all impediments to the exercise of those rights creates an alarming license of untrammeled individualistic autonomy that weakens the essence of marriage, family, and parenting which is the sincere gift of self. The giving of self is the kernel of family life and inter-generational

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solidarity and strength, a value that permeates and reverberates in the profamily provisions of the Constitution. 63. The grant and legislation of “reproductive rights” should satisfy the nature and purpose of human rights. A grant of other rights apart from the basic and fundamental human rights must satisfy the demands of human nature. After all, the fundamental human rights arise from the very nature of the human person—in his dignity and his teleological nature. This makes for authentic human rights. Failing this compliance, any legislative enshrinement of other rights satisfies and addresses mere interests, lifestyles, or desires—which are not, in essence, rights. We shall explain. Authentic human rights— 1. Are inherent and infused by nature, not by human authority; 2. Are in harmony with human nature and the natural processes of the human body; 3. Are at the service of the dignity of the human person; 4. Are ordered to the good of the human person, since those rights are by nature and from nature; 5. Edify the person who possesses and enjoys the rights; 6. Are inalienable and protected from impairment or withdrawal by human authority; 7. Are demandable forbearances upon the rest of the community; 8. When denied or transgressed, there is injustice; 9. Serve and foster the good not only of the possessor of the rights but also the good of the community, hence, the common good; On the other hand, spurious “rights”— 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Are legislated and granted by human authority; Defy human nature and the natural processes of the human body; Violate human dignity; Being against human nature, they defile the human body and brings harm instead of well-being; Demean the person who is given such “rights”; May be withdrawn, diminished, and disturbed in its exercise and enjoyment by the granting authority; May not be a forbearance from the rest of the community who have valid objections to such non-rights; When withheld, do not constitute an injustice, for nothing that is evil or contrary to human nature is due; Jeopardize and harm the common good.

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II. THE ACT

CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE BOUNDARIES OF GOVERNMENT ACTION AS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION.

64. Section 26 of the Act mandates the respondents to promulgate the implementing rules of the Act. Considering that the statutory standards upon which the rules are to be based are unconstitutional as discussed above, the Act cannot be implemented without exceeding the Constitutional boundaries and limitations imposed on Government, for: “x x x A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the governance and administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious, absolute and unalterable except by the authority from which it emanates. It has been defined as the fundamental and paramount law of the nation. It prescribes the permanent framework of a system of government, assigns to the different departments their respective powers and duties, and establishes certain fixed principles on which government is founded. The fundamental conception in other words is that it is a supreme law to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights must be determined and all public authority administered.”3 65. For the same reason, the remaining provisions of the Act cannot stand without the unconstitutional provisions herein discussed. Grounds for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction 66. The question may be asked: Is the petition not premature considering that the Act is not yet effective, it not having been published yet? The answer is in the negative because petitioners asked not only that the law be invalidated, but also that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued. This remedy is available only before the contemplated illegal act is done. It will be too late to wait for the day the law becomes effective for by then, an illegal disbursement and use of public funds can already be made by respondents before the Honorable Court can deliberate on the propriety of issuing the preliminary injunction against said disbursement. 67. According to Rule 58, Revised Rules of Court, to wit:
3

Manila Prince Hotel v. Government Insurance System, 267 SCRA 408, 1997.

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“Sec. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established. a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.” x x x Sec. 5. Preliminary injunction not granted without notice; exception. – No preliminary injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined. If it shall appear from facts shown by affidavits or by the verified application that great or irreparable injury would result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on notice, the court to which the application for preliminary injunction was made, may issue ex parte a temporary restraining order to be effective only for a period of twenty (20) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined, except as herein provided. Within the said twenty-day period, the court must order said party or person to show cause, at a specified time and place, why the injunction should not be granted, determine within the same period whether or not the preliminary injunction shall be granted, and accordingly issue the corresponding order. x x x” 68. Petitioners have established that the injury complained of is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to prevent irreparable harm. 69. Considering that as shown above, petitioners are entitled to the relief demanded that is, such relief consists in restraining the enforcement of

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R.A. 10354 and that its enforcement will work injustice to the petitioners and to others similarly situated; considering that the case presents questions going to the merits of so serious and substantial questions deserving of more deliberate consideration; that respondents are attempting to enforce the aforesaid Act that tends to render the judgment hereof ineffectual, issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction hereof is hence warranted. And considering that great and irreparable injury would result to the petitioners before the matter can be heard on notice, temporary restraining order hereof is hence imperative to preserve the status quo.

Prayer WHEREFORE, premises considered, petitioners respectfully pray that the Honorable Court issue a decision: 1. declaring null and void, for being unconstitutional, Republic Act No. 10354, entitled “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH”; 2. commanding the respondents and all persons acting on the basis of the Act to cease from implementing the said law; 3. and, pending the resolution of this case, that the Honorable Court issue a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction enjoining the respondents from implementing the Act, and upon the final resolution of this case, to make the injunction permanent. The petitioners pray for other just and equitable remedies. Quezon City for Manila, 02 January 2013.

IMBONG & CASTRO LAW OFFICES Unit 304 Señor Ivan de Palacio Building 139 Malakas St., Diliman, Quezon City Tel. No. 9294699

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By: (original signed) JAMES M. IMBONG For himself and as Counsel of Petitioners Roll of Attorneys No. 51157 PTR No. 26307017 / 04 Jan. 2012 / Angeles City IBP No. 899666 / 17 July 2012 / Angeles City M.C.L.E. Compliance No. III-0018381 / 11 Aug. 2010 -jamesimbong@gmail.com Mobile No. 0932-4836601 (original signed) JO AUREA M. IMBONG Collaborating Counsel Roll of Attorneys No. 23185 PTR No. 4038201 / 20 Jan. 2012 / Marikina City IBP No. 801862/ 01 Jan. 2012 / Marikina City M.C.L.E. Compliance No. III-0019478 / 11 Aug. 2010 -Mobile No. 0932-8517878
COPY FURNISHED: Hon. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Executive Secretary Office of the President of the Philippines Malacañang Palace, City of Manila Hon. Florencio B. Abad, Secretary Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Malcañang, City of Manila Hon. Enrique T. Ona, M.D., Secretary Department of Health (DOH) San Lazaro Compound, City of Manila Hon. Armin A. Luistro, FSC, Secretary Department of Education (DepEd) DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City Hon. Manuel A. Roxas II, Secretary Department of Internal and Local Government (DILG) EDSA cor. Mapagmahal St., Diliman, Quezon City Hon. Francis H. Jardeleza Solicitor General 139 Amorsolo Street Legaspi Village, Makati City

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