Marikina court stops graphic health warnings on cigarette packs

Ruling in favor of Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corp., the Marikina City Regional Trial Court temporarily stopped the Department of Health from implementing an order that required tobacco companies to put graphic health warning signs on cigarette packs, reports GMANews.tv.

Judge Felix Reyes granted Fortune Tobacco’s petition for a writ of injunction upon posting a bond of P5 million, according to ABS-CBNNews.com. "The court holds that the interest of justice will be better served if the status quo is maintained," Reyes said in the ruling, as reported by GMANews.tv.

In their petition, Fortune Tobacco argued that the DOH order was "unconstitutional because it was invalid exercise and usurpation of legislative power." Supposedly effective in mid-July, the DOH order was based on the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that the Philippines signed.

The "disappointed" Health Undersecretary Alexander Padilla told GMANews.tv that the DOH would bring the matter to the Supreme Court. He said, "We are trying to dissuade the youth from smoking tapos ngayon hindi matutuloy. For every day that passes, mas marami pa tuloy na kabataan ang papasok sa paninigarilyo."

Fortune Tobacco reportedly has a 90 percent market share in the country, according to GMANews.tv. Lucio Tan, Forbes Asia’s second richest in the Philippines this year with a net worth of $2.1 billion, controls the company.

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