High Court OKs Arroyo travel

by Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Nov 15 2011 12:58 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2011 05:24 AM


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MANILA, Philippines (6th UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC) voted 8-5 to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the watch list order (WLO) against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband, SC spokesman Midas Marquez announced Tuesday.
Only 13 magistrates voted.
The 8 are: Chief Justice Renato Corona, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, and Jose Perez.
The 5 who did not vote in favor of the decision are: Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Maria Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Jose Mendoza.
Two are on leave: Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Mariano del Castillo.
In a press conference, Marquez said majority of the magistrates believe that “it might probably work as an injustice to them of their continued inclusion in the WLO…Majority is of the thought that the TRO is consistent with the constitutional presumption of innocence.”
He said, however, that the TRO can be lifted anytime if the high court deems forthcoming arguments sufficient to counter those of the couple. Oral arguments have been set on November 22 at 2:00 p.m.
In a press conference in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Office of the Solicitor General will file a motion for reconsideration, which will seek a lifting of the TRO.
Marquez said the couple can leave anytime as long as they comply with the requisites, including the filing of a bond worth P2 million.
The Arroyos, whose petitions were consolidated, were also ordered to appoint a legal representative who shall receive all necessary pleadings and summons from the court.
Once they are in a foreign country, they are to report to the embassy or consulate there of their actions and movements.
The TRO is “conditional,” which means that the other respondents included in the particular WLO are not included. The DOJ also issued the WLO against 41 other respondents in connection with electoral sabotage raps.
Marquez said if the prosecutors hearing the electoral sabotage complaint decides to file a case in court, the government can file a manifestation of it before the high court.
He reiterated that the TRO is just a “provisional” remedy.
He said the full court meeting today was “unusually longer” than previous ones.
The Arroyo couple earlier filed separate petitions asking the Supreme Court to issue a TRO on the Department of Justice watch list order. The WLO prevents the Arroyos from leaving the country without government permission.
The Arroyo couple also urged the Court to declare as unconstitutional Department of Justice Circular 41 which gives the Justice Secretary powers to issue travel restrictions.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had turned down the former President's petition for allow departure order, saying she found no compelling reason to allow Arroyo to leave the country.