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SC lifts Arroyo travel ban

As expected, the Supreme Court has decided to allow former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Several breaking news reports quoted sources that claimed the High Court, in an en banc session, voted 8-5 in issuing a temporary restraining order against the Department of Justice.

It can be recalled that the DOJ has implemented a watchlist order against Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo.

According to their sources, Associate Justices Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes and Estelita Perlas-Bernabe, President Benigno Aquino’s three appointees, voted against granting Arroyo’s petition.

The others justice not in favor of a TRO were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Jose Mendoza.

Reportedly those in favor were Chief Justice Renato Corona, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, and Jose Perez.

The decision didn’t come as a surprise. Not only because the High Court is full of Arroyo-appointed justices but the law is clear on barring individuals based on criminal charges.

If the government filed in court the six plunder cases it says it had built against Arroyo, there would hardly be any trouble regarding the watchlist order. The charges remain in the preliminary investigation level at the Department of Justice.

None of the six criminal charges have been brought before the Office of the Ombudsman. And in the eyes of the law, unless charges have been filed in a court, there is no justification for a person to be in the watch list.