No urgency for Arroyo to leave, progressive lawmakers say

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


COLLEAGUES of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the House of Representatives find her insistence to leave the country suspicious, saying her medical condition hardly qualifies as an emergency.

Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, tried to fly to Singapore on Tuesday night hours after the Supreme Court (SC) issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on an order that prevented her from going abroad.

The same Supreme Court decision accorded the same privilege to Arroyo's husband, Jose Miguel, who also has a watchlist order against him after being implicated in alleged poll sabotage that took place in the 2004 and 2007 polls.

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The Arroyo couple, however, failed to leave the country after De Lima ordered Immigration personnel to ignore the TRO granted by the High Tribunal. The former President spent the night at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City after her travel was denied by the Bureau of Immigration.

Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino said De Lima's move, despite courting a legal showdown with the SC, is "well within her rights".

"There is no urgency for Arroyo to leave the country, save for her rush to flee from the charges filed against her. De Lima is well within her rights to exhaust all legal and administrative remedies to uphold the interest of justice within the bounds of due process and human rights," the progressive party-list lawmaker said in a text message.

Gabriela Representative Luzviminda Ilagan meanwhile expressed her doubts on the Arroyos’ intent to return and face charges once they have been allowed to leave the country.

"They can always say they will return, but we all know they have lied so many times," she said in a press statement.

The former President is facing at least six plunder charges before the DOJ and the Office of the Ombudsman while her husband is also facing a plunder case for his alleged involvement in the sale of brand new helicopters as second-hand to the Philippine National Police. Plunder is a non-bailable offense.

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio said that seeing the Arroyo couple really itching to get out of the country casts an indispensable doubt that seeking medical treatment is their primary reason for leaving.

Tinio said the nation will be in absolute chaos if the likes of former President Arroyo will be allowed to escape.

"Is this what we want our children to learn? To plunder the nation’s coffers, enter anomalous deals, have your critics silenced and when you are being asked to account for your sins, you feign illness and try to escape? Our nation is in deep trouble if this practice persists," he pointed out.

Kabataan Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino, for his part, slammed the Aquino administration for settling in filing a motion for reconsideration with the SC; when in fact, it could have filed a case against the former President to secure a hold departure order.

Palatino noted that in the 504 days of President Aquino in office, he has not succeeded in filing even a single case to prosecute Arroyo and her cohorts.

“Both the Supreme Court decision and the Aquino administration’s ineptitude make it harder for the people to rely on these institutions for social justice,” he said. (Sunnex)

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