Where’s Aquino in all these?


Of course, this is not a joking matter because of the fundamental issues involved.  But in the face of the intransigence of executive officials, I cannot help but make a comparison between their actuations and those of Juan Manuel Marquez.  Neither can accept a referee’s decision graciously.

The first thing I would ask is: Where is the President in all these?

A basic constitutional doctrine is that the judgment of a department secretary is presumed to be the judgment of the President unless the President expressly reprobates it.  The President has not done so.  We must therefore conclude that, right or wrong, this is what he wants to happen.

If this is not what he wants, he can easily pick up the phone and tell what the department secretary what he wants.  The secretary must obey.  At the moment, we know where he stands.

Facts are clear

I believe that the facts are clear enough.  A travel ban was imposed on GMA (Arroyo) under the form of a “watch-list order.”  In effect,  it is a “hold-departure order.”

The lawyers of GMA petitioned the Supreme Court to order the ban lifted.  The petition was argued en banc and the Supreme Court spokesperson tells us that among the issues discussed by the justices were the right to travel, the right to life and the presumption of innocence.

In the end, the high court decided to issue a temporary restraining order, or TRO,  directing executive officials concerned to allow GMA to travel “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this court.”

What this means is that only the court, and nobody else, can lift this order.  And those ordered by the court must obey—if they recognize that we are under the rule of law.

On Tuesday night, GMA attempted to board a flight to Singapore. On orders of superior authority, GMA was not allowed to depart and had to spend the night at St Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.

Real reason

What was the reason given by executive officials?  They argued, eloquently and ad nauseam, that, since they had not yet received the written order, prudence and wisdom prevented them from allowing the flight.

True it is that normally an officer cannot implement a TRO unless he or she has received an official copy.  However, considering the circumstances of the person involved and the publicity that surrounded the court’s order, I find the official reasoning to smack of pharisaical adherence to the letter of the law. It seemed that last night only the executive officials had not yet heard of the TRO.

By this morning, however, it became evident that the nonreception of the official copy of the TRO was not the real reason.  The justice secretary simply does not want to lift the ban. It was the secretary who imposed the watch-list order.  She can lift it even without a TRO.

The justice secretary has already received the TRO.  Still, she continues to insist that GMA should not be allowed to leave.  The order of the Supreme Court that the TRO is “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court” means nothing to her.

Sad, sad thing

Where in the world are we today!!!

The justice secretary seems to be insisting now that a TRO is not effective once a petition for reconsideration is filed.  She intends to file one.

The view that a motion for reconsideration will stop the implementation of a TRO can make any TRO absolutely useless!  Wonders will never cease.

What I seem to be seeing in all these and in some public reaction is that anger and hatred of GMA has taken over and reason seems to be consigned to the sidelines.  That this seems to affect even the highest executive authorities is a sad, sad thing.

Of course, there is also the fear that GMA might not come back.  But the government is not too weak not to find ways to bring her back.

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  • Anonymous

    The unrelenting obsession of the present administration to imprison the former president by whatever means have reached such urgency as to disobey the ruling of the SC. Contrary to their pursuit well tainted with indecency and glaring defiance of the High Tribunal, their pronouncements would always be that of according respect to the concerned  party and obedience to the law of the land. A normal being need not be of your intellectual level to understand what’s going on and this a sad precedence!

    • Anonymous

      Neither having the power of the purse nor the power of the sword, the judiciary derives its power only from the integrity of its decisions. When the Supreme Court engages in dubious acts with impunity, its defenders are reduced to invoking that legal fiction, “the court is always right, even when it is wrong.” This actually commands us to look the other way – to suspend our commitment to what is right – in order to preserve order. Every time the foregoing – this judicial mantra of last resort – is invoked to command acceptance of its decision, the Supreme Court’s credibility is eroded. 

  • Anonymous

    At this point in time, Supreme Court can hardly be regarded as independent-minded Justices.

    At this point in time, Supreme Court is the most inept and the most distrusted institution this country had.

    At this point in time, Supreme Court is the laziest, under performing institution.

    TRO has basis? Right to travel? As Justice Sereno pointed out, the High Court itself has a strict regulations on the foreign travels of its own personnel where all court personnel are required to secure a travel authority or face disciplinary action before the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA). She said the high court has held personnel administratively liable for traveling without the court’s authority. Tell me now, isn’t this considered a double standard justice? Just like WLO41. Arroyo herself signed it and now that it is being used against her, to her, this is unconstitutional.

    Now, where’s justice and fairness in that?

    The more Supreme Court favors the Arroyo family, the more people will look at them as protectors of Arroyo.

    Arroyo is sick? She will be travelling in different countries, circling the world in an unforgiving plane ride. How can you be so sick when you can travel on both ends of the world? It is like; how can you say you did not steal when you can afford to pay expensive doctors and hospitals and travel in different countries.

    Be real. Get real. You are no longer in a fantasy island. We have a Supreme Court the way Arroyo wanted it to be.

  • Anonymous

    Replying to Mang Teban,

    Madali lang lumusot sa moderator. Una.. tignan mo maigi mga words mo — may mga words na automatic na na-b-block.  Pangalawa, i re-phrase mo lang mga sentences mo. Pangatlo, try mong iklian ang mga comments mo, minsan asar siguro ang moderator, pag mahaba, flag na agad. Pang-apat mag-flag ka din ng maraming nag-ko-comment para malito yung moderator, at mahirapan sa kaka-hanap ng i-mo-moderate niya.  Sana naka-tulong ako

  • Anonymous

    “at this point in time”? your English is atrocious!
    FYI, GMA got her travel authority from Congress. Second, the jurisprudence generated by the body of work of the SC will stand the test of time. patay na tayo, the rules will still stand and will be referred to in the future.
    Just like the democracy you are enjoying, being popular doesn’t mean it’s right. Only the courts can issue HDO, while what the DOJ had was a watchlist. Maybe you can figure the difference.
    Denying the facts doesn’t change the facts.

    As for your problem on the SC composition, ano gusto mo, in the 9 years as president, hindi sya mag-aapoint ng justices toalling 12?

    If she didn’t appoint then she would be accused of not doing her duty to fill the vacant seats. so please stop the bias kasi that’s how democraZy works!

  • Anonymous

    The phrase “At this point in time” is an idiom, meaning “Now, at this time”. Guess, you prefer in TAGLISH. Guess, you know nothing about idioms.

    HDO are for criminal cases falling within the jurisdiction of courts BELOW the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs).

    WLO are for criminal cases pending trial BEFORE the Regional Trial Court.

    These DoJ Circulars were done during the Arroyo Administration and it included “criminal cases pending determination by government prosecution offices”.


    Admittedly, you are right about the Supreme Court composition. Arroyo needs to appoint these justices. But, Arroyo is not a person that we can trust to appoint Justices that would be independent and non-partisan. This had become more bold and evident when she preferred to appoint the Chief Justice when she can wait it out and allow the next Administration to appoint the Chief Justice.

    I can tell that you like to argue. And when you do, please make it worthwhile my time.

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