Implication is big in case she doesn’t come back, Aquino says
MANILA, Philippines - If former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo insists on a specialist to look into her ailment, the government will do everything to bring her one, even if it means using its own funds, her successor said.
Justifying the decision of her alter-ego, President Benigno Aquino III told a press conference: “How do we balance the interests? We can bring in specialists to look at her situation. We can even carry the financial aspect of it.”
On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she does not see any reason to allow the travel request of Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad.
Aquino said the country could not just allow Arroyo to leave, knowing that she has to face a case that already needs to be resolved since another election is coming. Arroyo is undergoing preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage, but she has yet to submit a counter-affidavit to the complaint.
“The implication is too big in case she does not come back. In case she decides not to, who will be answerable to all the cases? We also need justice,” he said.
He noted his doubts come from the discrepancies in the travel requests of Arroyo.
He said Arroyo cited 6 countries when she asked for a leave from the House of Representatives, where she is now a member.
Later, in a request before the DOJ, she cited only 3 countries. This was subsequently revised again, he noted.
“It was only on November 2 that she named the specialist who will be looking into her,” Aquino said.
He also stressed the countries she enumerated do not have an extradition treaty with the Philippines.
“Is it not doubtful that she keeps on changing her mind?” he asked.
He also found it funny that Arroyo is now questioning before the courts a circular issued under her term. He is referring to Department Circular 41, which restrains the travels of those with cases.
Asked if the government is just passing the burden to the Supreme Court, which is known for unpopular decisions vis-à-vis the administration, Aquino insisted: “We have already made a decision on the matter.”