[In the Web] Lawmakers air mixed reactions on the TRO issued to GMA

Ex-Pres. Gloria Arroyo arrives at the NAIA Tuesday night in an attempt to leave the country after the SC issued a TRO on the watch list order against her. Photo from GMA News

Lawmakers on Tuesday expressed mixed reaction on the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued earlier by the Supreme Court (SC) which allows former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to leave and seek medical treatment abroad.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the High Court’s TRO decision should be followed and that it “conforms to the rules of the House.”

“I personally believe that the temporary restraining order should be followed, and that the ex-president should be allowed to leave,” said Belmonte in a chance interview.

Belmonte, however, said the House of Representatives is “powerless” to compel the former president to go back to the country once the travel authority lapses.

“I personally believe that it is in her (Arroyo) best interest to come back and present their side in all of these things. I believe that flight is an admission of guilt,” he said.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casino said he was “utterly disappointed” at the SC decision to issue a TRO that in effect allows the former president to leave the country.

“This jeopardizes current efforts to hold her accountable for her crimes against the people,” he said in a chance interview.

He said they are even more disappointed at the way the DoJ “has apparently bungled efforts to bring GMA to justice. Its slow action on cases we filed as early as the first day GMA lost her immunity has brought us to what could have been an avoidable dilemma — the questionable use of a DoJ watch list as a de facto hold departure order.”

For his part, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said he was surprised that the SC issued TRO to the former president.

“I was surprised that the SC issued a TRO. I was not expecting that they would do that considering that they could have called for oral arguments and they should also have called on the government for additional documents on the case,” he said.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, on the other hand, said the TRO issued by the Supreme Court against the DoJ’s watch list order “effectively opens an escape hatch for GMA to evade prosecution.”

“Should GMA and her cohorts leave the country and refuse to return and face charges of corruption and poll fraud against her, the SC justices should be prepared to face the political consequences of their decision today,” she said.

Meanwhile, Cagayan Rep. Jacky Ponce Enrile said the issuance of a TRO by the High Court to Mrs. Arroyo has once again “demonstrated its independence, wisdom and loyalty to the Constitution.”

“By upholding one individual’s rights, it has guaranteed to each and every Filipino an impenetrable refuge wherein our own rights cannot be trampled upon,” he said.

House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman also said the Supremacy of the Constitution over partisan importuning “has once again been upheld by the Supreme Court.”

“The decision of the Supreme Court reversing the ruling of Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to hold the departure of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband, Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo, is a signal of triumph of civil liberties, particularly the right to travel and presumption of innocence,” said Lagman in a statement.

Read full story at http://philippinetimesofsouthernnevada.com/news/the-philippines/lawmakers-air-mixed-reactions-on-the-tro-issued-to-gma/


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