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Palace vows to respect final SC ruling on Arroyo watch list order

Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that it will respect the final decision of the Supreme Court on the watch list order against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — an issue that pitted the executive and the judiciary and brought speculations ov a looming constitutional crisis. “Obviously there is no final decision yet. If there is a final decision, obviously we will respect it one way or the other," said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda amid accusations by the Arroyo camp that the Aquino administration is defying the high court when it barred the former president from seeking medical treatment abroad despite a temporary restraining order on the watch list order. Lacierda said the executive has the right to question the TRO since there is no final decision yet on the issue. The Department of Justice (DOJ) placed Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel, on the Immigration watch list following the filing of electoral sabotage complaints against them in connection with alleged cheating in the 2007 elections. Mrs. Arroyo, now a congresswoman representing the second district of Pampanga, is also facing plunder complaints. The watch list order requires the Arroyos to ask for government permission before traveling abroad. Mrs Arroyo requested that she be allowed to go abroad to seek medical treatment for her bone ailment, but the DOJ junked her request. The former State leader's camp then questioned before the SC the travel ban against them and had been successful in securing the TRO. The government, however, barred the Arroyos from leaving the country despite the TRO on the watch list, saying it still needs to file a motion for reconsideration on the matter.

Palace vs TRO Lacierda believed that the SC deprived the government due process when it issued a TRO on the travel ban. “There is no final decision yet and yet the TRO was issued as though a final decision has been made," he said. “[The TRO] was supposed to be a provisional remedy, you are supposed to preserve the status quo but the issuance of the TRO did not preserve the status quo." On the threat to cite Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in contempt, Lacierda said he believes that the high court “would observe the process and give De Lima a chance to explain herself." Malacañang believes that Mrs. Arroyo has no plan of returning to the country during President Benigno Aquino III’s term once she is allowed to go abroad. He pointed out that Mrs. Arroyo’s camp did not specify medical reason when they came up with the list of six countries where they intend to go to. He said they also did not mention any doctor in their request. “The medical certificate submitted to the DOJ showed that her condition is improving. Kami ay nagtataka, how can SC say that if TRO has not been issued it can cause irreparable injury on part of Arroyo. In the past days, we have not heard of anything that her condition is getting worse or any life threatening condition that could require emergency," he said. He believed that Mrs Arroyo was just trying to get public sympathy. Impeachment vs PNoy Lacierda also said there is no basis to file an impeachment complaint against President Aquino as warned by several lawmakers allied with Mrs. Arroyo. “We believe it won’t prosper as there is no impeachable offense there. If we want to defy SC we would not have filed a motion for reconsideration. What’s impeachable about that? There is procedural law we’re following," he said, adding that the impeachment threat “is just part of posturing." He also denied reports that President Aquino’s allies are now gathering the support of lawmakers in exchange for more projects. “Kung may tumatakbo papel ilabas na lang nila, wag na lang idaan sa tsismis. Klaro kung may papel ilabas na lang nila wala yung nagsasabi ng ganyang innuendo," Lacierda said. “He who alleges must prove the same. Sila ang nagsasabi. Patunayan nila kung may papel. Madali namang mahanap yan kaya ilabas nila. Let them produce it, until they produce it what is there to say," he added. — KBK, GMA News