Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The Department of Gaffes
Former President now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 8:11 in the evening.
This was just after a couple of hours after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the Department of Justice's Immigration Watch List Order (WLO).
The WLO is an instrument under DOJ Department Circular 41and the circular specifies the requirements that must be submitted by those under WLO in order for them to be granted an Allow Departure Order. Under Section 7 of that circular, people under the WLO are required to submit affidavits detailing their travel itinerary, report to the DOJ upon their return, and seek the permission of those prosecuting their case.
Conversations on twitter and facebook repeatedly churned claims that there is no pending case against the Arroyos, though the couple were named as respondents in a joint DOJ Comelec investigation on electoral fraud. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/10/27/11/doj-issues-new-watchlist-order-vs-arroyo-et-al)
The Arroyo couple were prevented from leaving on a flight to Singapore, by order of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The justice secretary reportedly ordered the Bureau of Immigration to prevent the Arroyo couple from leaving the country. A request was also made to the Department of Transportation and Communication to instruct relevant agencies to do the same.
What erupted at the airport was a dramatic spectacle of Gloria Arroyo arriving on board an ambulance of St. Luke's Hospital. Wearing her halo vest, she was seated in a wheel chair and for a few moments TV cameras were allowed to soak in the image of a once powerful woman looking diminished, aged.
It was said that the show was meant to inspire sympathy for her.
Then, after an hour or so, the Arroyo couple left the airport with First Gentleman Arroyo shouting that the Aquino Administration was without conscience and that the former President despite her condition had been treated cruelly.
Congresswoman Arroyo's spokesperson was also heard comparing what happened to Martial Law.
Other members of the Arroyo camp wailed over the Aquino Administration's trampling of an individual's right to the presumption of innocence and right to travel.
I've heard it said, an individual can be deprived of his rights only by a court of law.
A former classmate at UST asked me on Facebook about what has happened to the 40,000 others under the DOJ's watchlist order.
And I thought a bit, then asked, "where is cito lorenzo?" of the fertilizer fund scam fame?