The editorial titled “On the watch list” (Inquirer, 11/9/11) could not have said it more plainly. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has no one to blame but herself. When her own justice secretary issued DOJ Circular No. 41 in 2010, she derived perverse comfort from the effects it produced: harassing and silencing her critics. Now that she’s hoisted with her own petard, she is frantic and crying foul!
A formal petition has been filed on GMA’s behalf with the Supreme Court by lawyer Estelito Mendoza, a super-deadly combination for those at the other side of the fence. An Arroyo Supreme Court plus Mendoza is, for all intents and purposes, an overkill! Why Mendoza even bothered to file a formal petition when a mere “letter” would do the trick for him faster is quite puzzling. Anyway, we should expect a temporary restraining order (TRO) to be issued with dispatch and should now prepare to see GMA flee to parts unknown and never to return to be put in jail without bail.
But winnowing the chaff from the grain, that DOJ circular is bound to be trashed as patently violative of the constitutional right to travel. That right can only be impinged upon by a judicial authority, such as a judge or justice, and not by anyone else. Going by prevailing Philippine jurisprudence, that is a foregone conclusion. Thus, the only legal way to keep GMA in the country is for the Ombudsman to institute formal plunder charges against her and her cohorts at the Sandiganbayan with greater dispatch and to move posthaste for a hold-departure order. More than enough evidence has already been gathered from the numerous Senate hearings to establish probable cause. Why has the process not started yet? What is the Ombudsman waiting for?
—STEVE Y. VESPERA, ESQ,
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.