Aquino and Arroyo: Perhaps not good friends but are they really political enemies? Photo from asiancorrespondent.com.
By Perry Diaz*
Last November 15, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would prevent the Department of Justice in enforcing its watch list order (WLO) against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The ruling included three conditions, to wit: (1) Payment in cash of a P2 million cash bond; (2) The appointment of legal representatives, who will receive all legal documents including subpoenas; and (3) Report in person or call the Philippine embassy or consulate office in countries where the Arroyos will travel.
In a statement made to the press, the former First Gentleman, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo said that the Supreme Court ruling was a “triumph of justice.” But the Akbayan Party thinks otherwise. The party’s spokesperson, Risa Hontiveros, condemned the TRO as “a huge disservice to justice” and “a parole before a conviction.”
“The Great Escape” foiled
As soon as the news of the ruling was announced, Gloria posted the P2-million cash bond and made bookings for Singapore at 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 7:35 pm, 7:55 pm and 9:00 pm. When the Arroyos did not show up, the flights, which were booked with Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines, were canceled.
But at 8:00 pm the Arroyos arrived at the Ninoy International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 through an ambulance. They were going to take an 8:50 pm flight bound for Hong Kong via Dragon Air when they were barred from entering the gate at NAIA.
Mockery of justice
Sad to say, the ripple effect of the TRO is that it sets a precedent that any Filipino who is facing criminal charges but has not yet been formally arraigned in court can leave the country at will. Indeed, the ruling made the Philippine justice system virtually inutile.
The question is: Why did the Supreme Court allow Gloria to travel considering that preliminary investigation is ongoing on six plunder charges and one electoral sabotage case against Gloria? One can argue that Filipino citizens have an “absolute” constitutional right to travel. But the Supreme Court had set legal precedents that the right to travel is not absolute.
In his Inquirer column last November 10, Raul Pangalangan, former Dean of the UP College of Law, said: “To start with, the Supreme Court itself has ruled that the right to travel is not absolute. The Court has upheld the power of the Presidential Commission on Good Government to issue hold-departure orders against ‘persons [who are] known or suspected to be involved’ as Marcos cronies. Yet that power was not explicitly granted in the PCGG’s charter, and was merely implied from its power ‘to conduct investigation[s]’ and ‘restrain any [act] that may render moot and academic, or frustrate or otherwise make ineffectual [its] efforts.’
Given these legal precedents set by the Supreme Court, the question is: Why did the Supreme Court turn a blind eye to these legal precedents and take exception of Gloria?
For one thing, the Supreme Court is stacked with 12 Arroyo appointees, nine of who are perceived to be rabidly loyal to her, including the “midnight” Chief Justice, Renato Corona. Known as “Arroyo Court,” it has consistently issued rulings that were favorable to Gloria and her allies. With the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, a loyal ally of the Arroyos and Gloria’s “line of first defense,” the high court is her “court of last defense.” And the recent ruling seems to manifest that.
In my article, “Would Gloria come back?” (October 19, 2011), I wrote: “I usually take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt. But there is one conspiracy theory that keeps crossing my mind since the May 10, 2010 presidential election. About two weeks before the election, ‘Aquinorroyo’ started buzzing around in Manila. I ignored it and accepted the results of the elections hook, line, and sinker. ‘No way it could have happened,’ I told my source.
Is “Aquinorroyo” real?
Romulus Jove Beltran, a Facebook blogger, said it succinctly: “He [P-Noy] has had enough time to gather all the evidence he needs which is not so hard to do considering that they’re glaring. He’s not making sure of his case if you ask me… the slow pace is deliberate…! And now, Gloria is going to escape because the careful hunter prepared for the hunt much too long…”
Which makes one wonder what is preventing P-Noy from filing charges against Gloria in court? It looks like the “Aquinorroyo” conspiracy is real after all.
*Perry Diaz is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
Read full article at http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10885282-aquinorroyo-conspiracy