MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. on Monday added his voice to groups who are urging the Department of Justice to lift a watchlist order against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and allow her to seek medical treatment abroad.
In a statement, Revilla said there are many ways that the Philippine government could assuage doubts that Arroyo would no longer return to the country to face possible charges filed against her and her family. One of those ways, he said, is the assigning of escorts to Arroyo while she is abroad.
He also noted that the media would always keep tabs on the former President while she is not in the country.
"For humanitarian considerations, I am appealing to the Department of Justice to review its decision to disallow the former President to seek medical treatment abroad. It would do more harm than good if her condition worsens here in the country. There are no cases filed against her that will legally impede her from travelling abroad," he said.
Revilla reminded the DOJ that the right to travel is guaranteed in the Constitution. "She is not seeking a privilege. Huwag nating ipagkait sa kanya ang karaparatang ito," he said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier rejected Arroyo's application for an allow departure order, saying she does not see a compelling reason to allow the former President to leave the country.
Arroyo and her husband, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, have filed separate petitions before the Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order on the DOJ watchlist.