Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the Department of Justice (DOJ) should stick to the law and warned that its continued defiance of the Supreme Court order that effectively allowed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad could trigger a constitutional crisis.
Escudero said that while it does not help that the camp of Arroyo is also taking a confrontational approach to the issue, he called on the DOJ to uphold the laws and the Constitution and do not fall into the maneuverings of the former president.
“I believe that ex-PGMA should not have hastily tried to leave and should have waited for the DOJ and the immigration bureau to formally get their copies of the TRO (temporary restraining order),” Escudero said.
On the other hand, Escudero said, the DOJ “should stop coming up with absurd ideas about the laws of the land just so it can be experimented at the Supreme Court. They are handling this case with braggadocio to the point of dragging the entire nation into a constitutional crisis.”
In an earlier statement to the press, Escudero said the decision of the Supreme Court is fair and reasonable.
“While I believe that PGMA has to answer for a lot of things, she should be made to do so under the proper constitutional processes. To prevent the possible flight of the former president from facing the accusations against her, the justice department should exercise its mandate by filing appropriate charges in courts and petition for a hold departure order. This is the proper legal action which does not circumvent constitutional and basic rights.”
Escudero maintained that an illegal and unconstitutional circular issued during PGMA’s time remains the same even if used against PGMA herself now.
“If her administration resorted to tactics like this then, something should set the present administration apart from its predecessor by going through and recognizing due and legal processes,” the senator said.
The former president and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo were stopped from leaving the country Monday night despite the High Tribunal’s issuance of a TRO on their travel ban. The DOJ barred the former first couple from leaving, invoking pendency of the resolution of the motion for reconsideration (MR) that it filed today.
Escudero said any freshman law student knows that a TRO cannot be questioned through an MR, and even with a pending motion, it cannot defer the implementation of the SC order.
“The DOJ is challenging the clear and succinct letters of our existing laws with their new-found legal theories. They will be dragging this case into defeat and my fear is that they could really be giving Mrs. Arroyo a ground to seek political asylum abroad, which is everybody’s fear too, by not following the statutes of the land and the decision of the Supreme Court,” Escudero said.
He said the justice department should not make the nation believe that there is still a legal remedy to defy the court order because it is not standing on a solid legal ground.#