Arroyo lawyer blasts De Lima for blocking trip


Posted at Nov 15 2011 06:22 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2011 03:06 AM

Topacio says gov't 'opening doors to constitutional crisis'

MANILA, Philippines - Arroyo lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said the executive branch is opening doors to a constitutional crisis if it insists on barring the Arroyo couple from leaving despite a go-signal from the Supreme Court (SC).

In an interview with ANC, Topacio lambasted Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for ordering airport officials to block the Arroyos simply because the administration still has no copy of the Supreme Court's decision.

“It’s a disgrace, very shameful on the part of the Executive to thwart a lawful order of the Court. It will lead to a constitutional crisis,” he said.

De Lima said in Malacañang after the SC announced its decsion that the government has yet to answer the temporary restraining order of the SC, which subsequently granted a provisional lifting of the watch list order in question.

Topacio said he could not understand why the Aquino government has become stricter, even if there is already a TRO.

“They are bound to be respectful, otherwise, they are liable for contempt,” he said.

He also chastised de Lima for questioning the high court’s requirements for the Arroyos. De Lima had said the requirements are not enough to bring back the Arroyos in case they are already wanted by law.

“It’s unseemly for a member of the Bar to place herself above the SC. If [the requirements] are already sufficient for the SC, who is anyone to question that?” he asked.

He also downplayed de Lima’s irritation over threats of disbarment. “If you’re good at giving it, you should be ready to get it…It’s one of the occupational hazards.”

Topacio also confirmed that if all requirements are complied with, the Arroyos would be leaving for Singapore.

He said there is no reason for the couple to move to other countries if the medical help there is already sufficient.

He said they are now just waiting for an official copy of the TRO, which will be presented to airport officials who will attempt to block them.