Another Supreme Court victory for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
ABS-CBNnews.com’s Ira Pedrasa filed this breaking news:
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Supreme Court has voted 8-5 to release a temporary restraining order on the watchlist order against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, SC spokesman Midas Marquez announced Tuesday.
Only 13 magistrates voted.
The 8 are: Chief Justice Renato Corona, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, and Jose Perez.
The 5 who did not vote in favor of the decision are: Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Maria Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Jose Mendoza.
Those who did not vote are: Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Mariano del Castillo.
Arroyo and her husband, Mike, will be required to post a bail bond from P2 million. They also have to report to Philippine consulates in the countries they will visit. Their legal counsels also have to coordinate the Arroyos’ travels.
After the Arroyos comply with the conditions, Marquez said the TRO is immediately executory. It has no fixed duration and can only be lifted by the Supreme Court.
The Arroyo couple earlier filed separate petitions asking the Supreme Court to issue a TRO on the Department of Justice watchlist order. The WLO prevents the Arroyos from leaving the country without government permission.
The Arroyo couple also urged the Court to declare as unconstitutional Department of Justice Circular 41 which gives the Justice secretary powers to issue travel restrictions.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima turned down the former President’s petition for allow departure order, saying she found no compelling reason to allow Arroyo to leave the country.
Analysis: Of the five magistrates that voted down the Arroyo petition, three are Aquino appointees (Sereno, Reyes, and Perlas-Bernabe). Another dissenter is Senior Associate Justice Carpio, who was bypassed by the former President in the selection of a new Chief Justice (to replace the retiring Reynato Puno) last year.
Meanwhile, all eight magistrates who affirmed the former leader’s right to seek medical treatment abroad were Arroyo appointees. This is an obvious victory for the Arroyo legal team – and another setback to the Aquino government. Expect another barrage of criticisms against the Supreme Court from anti-Arroyo groups and personalities.