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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        23  May 2011

RH bill may go to Philippine high court

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Chief Justice Renato Corona said that he expected the reproductive health (RH) bill to run the gauntlet at the Supreme Court (SC) once the controversial measure passes scrutiny of Congress.

Corona over the weekend cited legal and constitutional issues that according to him are likely to be raised by those against the RH bill.

He said that the High Tribunal would directly rule on arguments raised before it over the measure, which is now being tackled in the House plenary.

The chief magistrate added that there are legal questions that will surely be brought before the SC once the bill becomes law.

If such questions were presented to the High Tribunal, Corona pointed out, it would be the court, not Congress , which will decide on the fate of the RH measure.

The SC could even inquire into pieces of legislation passed by Congress under its power of judicial review.

Such legislation will include cases that are justiciable for “grave abuse of discretion or amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

Recently, former Environment Secretary and former Manila Mayor Joselito “Lito” Atienza vowed that his group would exhaust all efforts to “kill” the RH bill.

“If the bill is approved in the House of Representatives, we will bring our cause to the Senate. If all these fail and the bill is passed, if we have to go to the (SC) to have it nullified, then we will,” said Atienza, also a former chairman emeritus of Pro-Life Philippines.

“Congressman [Teodoro] Casiño (of Bayan Muna party-list) seems intent in pushing for the passage of the RH bill. But we are also doing the best that we can to counter it,” Atienza told The Manila Times also over the weekend.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that Catholic Church officials may not seek relief from the courts if the bill is passed.

Instead, he added, the Catholic clergy would leave the court battle to various pro-life groups.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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