SolGen files appeal on Arroyo travel ban TRO

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2011 12:03 PM | Updated as of Nov 17 2011 01:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed this morning a consolidated urgent motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court (SC) that seeks the immediate lifting of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high court on Tuesday on the inclusion of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo in the immigration watch list.

In its 36-page motion, the OSG, on behalf of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), raised the following arguments to support its plea:

1) DOJ Circular No. 41, series of 2010 is presumed valid and constitutional

2) The right to travel is not absolute, and is subject to exceptions recognized under domestic and international law

3) The requisites for the issuance [of] a TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction are not present in this case

4) The issuance of the assailed TRO is a prejudgment of the main case and effectively renders the instant petition and all related proceedings useless.

The MR also pointed out that Mrs. Arroyo carries a diplomatic passport issued to her on August 11, 2009 while she was still president.

This, the MR claimed, will make it difficult for government to compel her to return in the event that she refuses to come home to evade criminal charges.

"Being a holder of a diplomatic passport raises a host of issues with respect to diplomatic immunity and former Head-of-State immunity in other jurisdictions, and may render petitioner GMA (Mrs. Arroyo) not susceptible to extradition or to a request for her return to the Philippines," the motion read.

The Supreme Court, voting 8-5, with 2 justices on official leave, granted the Arroyos' plea for TRO.

A copy of the said order was officially received by the justice department at 8:20 this morning.