By Edwin Espejo
The pathetic standoff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) involving former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Philippine immigration officials Tuesday evening only highlighted how far contradiction among the country’s privileged elite can go – a bitter clash that could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.
And both camps – the Arroyos and President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino – have only themselves to blame.
Legally, there is nothing that would and should bar the besieged former president from leaving the country in the absence of a proper court order.
There is an executive order, ironically issued by the former president herself, however, that places a person under a watch list and whose flight outside the country may be stopped by the immigration officials. It is an executive edict that is now being questioned before the highest court of the land by the Arroyos.
The Aquino government, however, believes it has a case against the former President and is morally obliged to perform its duty of preventing a potential fugitive from justice from leaving the country.
As it now appears, the Aquino government is taking the risk of being cited in direct contempt by the Supreme Court for what the current president believes is his moral obligation.
The NAIA standoff however is not just mere legal and political issues between two of the country’s powerful political clans, it also has personal undertones to it.
During several attempts to impeach President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she was still the president, the Aquinos – at least the Cojuangco side of the president’s family – were among the leaders of the movement that sought her resignation. President Nonoy Aquino’s late mother Corazon, also a former president, went to great lengths to apologize to former President Joseph Estrada for joining the protest movement that led to the ouster of the latter.
Corazon Aquino played a major role in the installation of Arroyo as president of the republic in the aftermath of Estarda’s impeachment.
Ironically, it is Corazon Aquino, and to some extent her son, who also were among the first to drop Arroyo as an ally and called for her resignation due to corruption and widespread electoral fraud in 2004.
It is a falling out that left Arroyo enraged. Under her watch, the vast Hacienda Luisita property of the Cojuangcos was declared subject to the coverage of the land reform program.
Aquino in turn has not gotten over the fact that the Arroyos pulled all the plugs during the 2010 presidential elections in which the current president won convincingly on an anti-corruption platform.
Both the former and current presidents share the same place in the history of Philippine politics.
- [In the Web] Gloria Arroyo stopped a woman, with an illness and a case just like hers, from leaving the country for four year (dars0357.wordpress.com)
- [In the Web] Lawmakers air mixed reactions on the TRO issued to GMA (dars0357.wordpress.com)
- Philippine Court Allows Arroyo to Travel Abroad (abcnews.go.com)
- Philippine court allows Arroyo to travel abroad (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Former Filipino President Stopped From Leaving for Treatment (nytimes.com)
- Panel ends probe of Arroyo poll case (hreplib.wordpress.com)
- Aquino and DOJ’s Dillydallying over Arroyo’s Medical Travel Request: A BLATANT CONTEMPT for a Constitutional Right! (rqjavines.wordpress.com)
- Faith (1rgcruz.wordpress.com)
- Philippine court allows Arroyo to travel abroad (sfgate.com)
- Philippines offers to fly in docs to check Arroyo (sfgate.com)