GMA files supplemental petition before SC

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2011 03:33 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2011 01:10 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a supplemental petition with the Supreme Court(SC) today in support of her petition dated Nov. 7, 2011 that sought the nullification of watch list orders(WLO) issued by the Department of Justice(DOJ) barring her from leaving the country.

Mrs. Arroyo's 44-page supplemental petition raised the issue of the denial by Justice Secretary Leila last November 8 of her application for an allow departure order(ADO) so she may seek medical treatment abroad. The supplemental petition alleged that this denial was unconstitutional.

"The order of respondent DOJ Secretary...is patently unconstitutional in that it has deprived GMA(Mrs. Arroyo) of her constitutional right to travel on grounds that do not constitute valid restrictions on the right to travel under Section 6, Article III of the Constitution," the supplemental petition read.

The supplemental petition pointed out that DOJ Department Circular No. 41 which was invoked by the department in putting Mrs. Arroyo in the immigration watch list, "is not a law that would justify the curtailment and impairment of a citizen's right to travel."

"[T]here is no law which appoints the respondent DOJ Secretary as the appropriate executive officer of administrative authority authorized to impose limitations on a Filipino citizen's right to travel. There is also no statute which vests in the respondent DOJ Secretary the duty and function of determining whether there exist exigencies which bear upon national security, public safety or public health that would justify the restriction, curtailment and impairment of a citizen's right to travel by means of the motu proprio issuance of a WLO and/or an HDO(hold departure order," the supplemental petition read.

The petition maintained that there exists no order from any court prohibiting Mrs. Arroyo from exercising her Constitutionally guaranteed right to travel since she has not been filed any case before the courts.

"[R]espondent DOJ Secretary has not only usurped the legislative function of Congress when she issued the assailed order in the absence of any statutory basis therefor, she has also usurped the function of the judiciary of issuing an HDO in the exercise of its inherent power to issue all auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry its orders into effect in criminal cases pending before it," the supplemental petition read.

The petition also accused the justice secretary of grave abuse of discretion in denying Mrs. Arroyo's application for ADO "based on suspicions, surmises and findings."

"It is not true that there were inconsistencies in the travel itinerary submitted by petitioner GMA for medical treatment arranged with doctors in Singapore, Germany and Spain. Petitioner GMA could not have committed any inconsistency because she submitted only one(1) itinerary, temporary at that, in view of respondent DOJ Secretary's delay in acting upon her application for ADO which resulted in the cancellation of some appointments already fixed with doctors abroad," the supplemental petition read.

'PH has extradition treaty with Spain'

The petition accuses the DOJ of "inaccurately" charging Mrs. Arroyo with choosing countries wherein she would be put beyond the jurisdiction of the Philippine criminal justice system. The petition pointed out that Spain, one of the countries in Mrs. Arroyo's itinerary, has an extradition treaty with the Philippines.

The petition alleged that Sec. De Lima was "too quick to impute" to Mrs. Arroyo an intent to evade the criminal justice processes "without any factual basis."

"The Philippines has a signed Extradition Treaty, a signed Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty and a Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement with Spain, which is one of the countries listed by petitioner GMA for her medical treatment abroad," the supplemental petition read.

The petition also pointed out that there was no medical inconsistency between Mrs. Arroyo's affidavit to the DOJ and her medical abstracts.

DFA: Philippines' extradition with Spain not yet in effect

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez, meantime, told ABS-CBN News that the Philippines' extradition treaty with Spain has yet to be concurred by the Senate.

"Extradition signed but still with Senate for concurrence, hence has not entered into force," Hernandez said in a text message.

Hernandez confirmed Spain and the Philippines have inked a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) which is an agreement that "helps locate persons, secure information and evidence, serve documents" in legal matters involving one or both countries.