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JR Lopez Gonzales 10:46 AM 0

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or... Naruto?
by Shannevie Krista Villarta*

Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) has recently become headline in every news in the Philippines. Having been included in the immigration watch list upon order of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Mrs. Arroyo pleaded for a TRO before the Supreme Court to lift her ban to travel abroad for her medical treatment there.


On the very day the Supreme Court lifted the travel ban order, Mrs. Arroyo with her different scheduled departure tried to leave the country. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima, however, insisted that she hasn’t received a copy of the TRO and that she instructed the Immigration officials as they were under her direct orders to prevent the Arroyos (GMA and her husband) from leaving the country. The Supreme Court (SC) ruling said that the TRO was immediately executory, and any attempt to block it will result in contempt. But Sec. De Lima was firm in her resolve that even if she receives a copy of the TRO, the DOJ is still entitled to file a motion for reconsideration (MR). She also said her action does not constitute contempt since she merely used a legal remedy which is the filing of an MR, especially since the justices of the SC were not unanimous in the issuance of the TRO (a vote of 8-5).

Upon the other hand, the highly regarded opinion of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was expressed in her interview-reaction regarding the said issue. She opined that the issue was focused more on its political aspect forgetting the fact that GMA’s right to travel is one of a constitutional issue, plain and simple. According to her, as a general rule, a person has a right to travel. Exception is in three cases, but we don’t know what these cases are because Congress has never defined what is national security, public safety, and public health. Only the Congress, and even the Supreme Court, can tell us what these three exceptions are.

In the language of the Constitution, national interest, for which ground GMA’s right to travel is being barred upon hinges on, is not a part of the exception. That is why for her, the SC ruling is correct.

*Editor’s Note: This article was written by Shannevie Krista Villarta for The Nexus, the official magazine of the Mindanao State University College of Law - Iligan Extension Volume 13, Issue No. 2 with me as the Editor-in-Chief.

Picture Credit:
http://pinoygag.com/gloria-naruto

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