On October 28, 1986, President Corazon Aquino issued E. O. No. 51 (Milk Code) which states that the law seeks to give effect to Article 112 of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (ICMBS), a code adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA), to the effect that breastfeeding should be supported, promoted and protected, hence, it should be ensured that nutrition and health claims are not permitted for breastmilk substitutes.
In 1990, the Philippines ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 24 of said instrument provides that State Parties should take appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortality, and ensure that all segments of society, specially parents and children, are informed of the advantages of breastfeeding.
On May 15, 2006, the DOH issued herein assailed Admin. Order (A.O.) No. 2006-0012 entitled, Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 51, Otherwise Known as The “Milk Code,” Relevant International Agreements, Penalizing Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes (RIRR).
Petitioner, representing its members that are manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes posits that the RIRR is not valid and unconstitutional.
Hence, it filed the present Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction.
Whether pertinent international agreements entered into by the Philippines are part of the law of the land and may be implemented by the DOH through the RIRR.
Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either by transformation or incorporation.
The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation.
The incorporation method applies when, by mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law.
Treaties become part of the law of the land through transformation pursuant to Article VII, Section 21 of the Constitution which provides that “[n]o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.” Thus, treaties or conventional international law must go through a process prescribed by the Constitution for it to be transformed into municipal law that can be applied to domestic conflicts.
On the other hand, Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, to wit:
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.
embodies the incorporation method.
The ICMBS and WHA Resolutions are not treaties as they have not been concurred in by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate as required under Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.
Moreover, for an international rule to be considered as customary law, it must be established that such rule is being followed by states because they consider it obligatory to comply with such rules (opinio juris). Respondents have not presented any evidence to prove that the WHA Resolutions, although signed by most of the member states, were in fact enforced or practiced by at least a majority of the member states; neither have respondents proven that any compliance by member states with said WHA Resolutions was obligatory in nature.
Respondents failed to establish that the provisions of pertinent WHA Resolutions are customary international law that may be deemed part of the law of the land.
Consequently, legislation is necessary to transform the provisions of the WHA Resolutions into domestic law.
The provisions of the WHA Resolutions cannot be considered as part of the law of the land that can be implemented by executive agencies without the need of a law enacted by the legislature.