MANILA, Philippines - Voting 9-4, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it issued last November 15, which allowed former President Gloria Arroyo to leave the country, was not suspended even if the conditions attached to it had not been fully complied with.
In a press conference, SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the Court had to vote if the TRO was in full force and in effect after the executive branch stopped Mrs. Arroyo from leaving that same day on the ground that Mrs. Arroyo's camp had not yet fully complied with one of the conditions in the TRO.
"There was an initial compliance that the petitioner [Mrs. Arroyo] appoint a legal representative. A special power attorney was filed [by the Arroyo camp] except that after going over the special power of attorney, there was a general representation by Atty. (Ferdinand) Topacio, but it lacked the word authorized to receive processes and subpoenas. He was directed to file a supplemental compliance," he said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had questioned the effectivity of the SC's TRO, citing the non-compliance of the Arroyo camp with one of the conditions stated in the TRO.
The Supreme Court then ordered de Lima to show cause why she should not be held in contempt of court.
Marquez said de Lima submitted her explanation, which was noted by the justices.
Meantime, Marquez said the SC is set to hear oral arguments today on the constitutionality of the joint preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Commission on Elections (Comelec) on poll fraud charges.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier questioned the legality of her indictment for electoral sabotage at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court last Nov. 18, saying that the formation of the DOJ-Comelec investigating panel is illegal.