MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Franklin Drilon believes a watchlist order issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, businessman Jose Miguel Arroyo and several others in connection with electoral sabotage raps is illegal.
In a statement, Drilon questioned the authority of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for issuing, in effect, a hold departure order (HDO) “in the guise of a watchlist order” since only the regional trial courts can issue HDOs in cases within their jurisdiction.
“The watchlist order which has the effect of a hold departure order is illegal. To me, the watchlist order that encroaches on the right of a person to travel is contrary to the Constitution,” Drilon told reporters.
The senator urged the DOJ to revoke Department Circular No. 41 or the Consolidated Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuances and Implementing of Hold Departure Orders, Watchlist Orders, and Allow Departure Orders issued by De Lima’s predecessor, Alberto Agra, last May 2010 during the Arroyo administration.
He said the power to issue to issue watchlist orders cannot be supported by the provisions of the Bill of Rights.
He said that while the Arroyos must be made to answer to countless allegations of electoral cheating, the Aquino administration should follow proper procedures.
“Whether or not you are in the opposition or in the administration, these rules should govern,” said Drilon.