Only courts can issue hold-departure orders

What was she thinking? Justice Secretary Leila de Lima got eggs all over her face in the wake of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court in regard to the “hold-departure order” (HDO) she had put out on Jose Miguel Arroyo. Banking on a previous circular of the Department of Justice (circa Raul Gonzalez, that miserable excuse for a justice secretary during the unlamented Arroyo regime), De Lima threw caution to the wind and essayed to test its tenability.

While before it was innocuously called a “watch list” meant merely to keep some shady characters on the Bureau of Immigration’s radar screen to monitor quietly their movements in and out of the country, Secretary De Lima pushed the envelope, ratcheted it up notches higher and transformed it into a flat-out, in-your-face “hold-departure order” which not merely “watched,” but now actually stopped people wanting to go abroad dead in their tracks.

She obviously failed to brush up on prevailing jurisprudence. For quite some time now, it has been a settled rule that as the Constitution guarantees to everyone the right to travel, only the courts, upon lawful cause shown, can issue “hold-departure orders” to stop people against whom serious criminal charges have already been filed in such courts to thwart them from absconding and evading our criminal justice system. Not even Congress can render that constitutional right nugatory even if “in aid of legislation.” In fact, we learned that doctrine way back in law school! Coming as she did straight from the Commission on Human Rights, De Lima should have known better than to tinker with the Bill of Rights.

True, it is just a TRO and that no final decision has yet been rendered by the Supreme Court. But if well-entrenched jurisprudence is any beacon at all, the DOJ might do well to go back to the drawing board and craft something else in lieu of the juggernaut that is about to have its ugly head cut off.


Monsanto Law Office,

Loyola Heights, Quezon City;


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=11103

Tags: hold departure order , Jose Miguel Arroyo , judiciary , Leila de Lima , letters to the editor , TRO

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVZ7QKZBQMENJY5BCDIPSYVIWQ Ron

    I was wondering when someone would get around to reminding the Justice Secretary of that. Where are the improvements in the criminal justice system she promised to pursue?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K2RI3LJVGNNED3XPMG7HVMIIO4 Herbert

    With current SC composed of rotten brains, how would you expect the courts to act accordingly in response to the abuses of the previous administration?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Tan/100001067771977 Joe Tan

    Di ba ang immigration Officers natin eh nag, iimpose ng Hold Departure Order? Pag ayaw ka nila paalisin di ka talaga paalisin. Kapal muks

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Korea ferry captain defends actions, bodies seen in ship
  • Traffic starts to build up at toll plazas on Black Saturday
  • Flash floods hit 9 Tagum villages
  • No tsunami to hit PH after 6.9 quake jolts Solomon Islands–Phivolcs
  • Search resumes for bodies in Everest avalanche
  • Sports

  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Marketplace