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De Lima locks horns with Supreme Court on Arroyo travel ban

MANILA – The Department of Justice is playing hardball with the Supreme Court as Secretary Leila De Lima refused to honor the temporary restraining order issued by the court en banc against a travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Atty. Mike Arroyo.

Reports said process server Benjamin Anonuevo of the Office of the Clerk of Court served the TRO at De Lima’s office 8:20 this morning. But despite this, De Lima said in a TV interview that Arroyo will remain prohibited from leaving the country.

Legislators and legal experts have criticized De Lima for barring the Arroyos from leaving for Singapore the other night.

My directive stays,” De Lima said in the TV interview.

De Lima said the High Court shouldn’t have issued the TRO since it was tantamount to a decision on the other petitions of the Arroyos, thereby rendering the consolidated petitions moot and academic. “It’s basic principle — you are not supposed to enjoin something if it renders moot the main petition,” De Lima said.

The Justice Secretary reasoned that the Arroyos’ case is unique and should not be treated as a regular case. “The court always has to take into account specific and peculiar accounts and circumstances attendant in a particular case,” she said.

Arroyo’s spokesperson Elena Bautista Horn has revealed that the Pampanga congresswoman has postponed plans to leave for Singapore Thursday and will remain at St. Luke’s Global City. She said the former president does not feel well as she has unstable blood pressure.

“She will leave in the next days because the Supreme Court has already said she can leave. But we will wait when she feels better,” she said.

The Arroyo couple attempted to leave for the Lion City the other night. Wearing neck and head braces, the former President in wheelchair, appeared pitiful and sick. Immigration agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, on De Lima’s orders, blocked Arroyo’s attempt to leave. #