Today, Friday, an arrest warrant was served on the former President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for electoral fraud, which is a non-bailable offense – while she was confined in a hospital in Taguig. Two policemen were assigned to watch her ward and to monitor her visitors.
Photo-op and fingerprinting, the police said, would be made when she is ready. If her physical condition permits, she would be brought to the police station for the booking, otherwise, police clerks will go to her room to perform the process, probably tomorrow, Saturday.
From a very enviable position of power, GMA slides down to hopelessness and she can only manage to smile away her political downfall, which could be worse than her illness, real or feigned. She started a high road to buy her freedom by going to the Supreme Court which had not failed to treat her with royal reverence. Only this time, another woman was feisty enough to stand her ground and resisted the Court’s dishonesty flaunted as an “intellectual discourse on civil liberty.”
The watch list order (WLO) pursuant to DOJ Department Circular 41, gives the Secretary of Justice the discretion to hold the departure of a person under investigation. The person need not be facing an actual case in court. It is sufficient that the person is being investigated. GMA and her husband fall under this category because they are under investigation by the DOJ. (par.(b) Section 2 of the Circular).
This circular was issued May 25, 2010 by Alberto Agra, GMA’s Acting Justice Secretary. The circular came back to haunt them. – Behold — how poetic justice unfolds!
With GMA’s arrest, the TRO previously issued by the Supreme Court could be considered moot – though her husband can still invoke it because he was not impleaded in the election fraud. But with the sudden change in the judicial behavior, which now considers the TRO inoperative because two conditions were not complied with by the Arroyos, it is unlikely that the DOJ will allow him to leave the country and the beleaguered queen easing herself from discomfort from all those medical gadgets attached to her diminutive frame.
Not to be outdone in this debate are the couple’s sycophants who unerringly used the constitution to argue that “medical needs” trump the right of the government to prosecute these brigands — that in a constitutional hierarchy, the right to medical intervention, and therefore to life, towers above all other rights — and they would add that for humanitarian reason, GMA should be treated in a foreign hospital by foreign doctors.
It is not an argument that the government has no case against the couple. It is an argument that because they have the money, they are entitled to the best medical care there is, and because of that money too, they can ask the Supreme Court to interpret the constitution for them.
But the perennially penniless and asthmatic Juan de la Cruz accused of snatching a P500 worth of a wrist-watch cannot invoke his constitution, nor ask the Supreme Court if his constitutional right was violated because he was languishing in jail for snatching while those who snatched the election and usurped the office and those who were involved in other high profile brigandage running to millions of pesos or even dollars, seek to travel abroad and to be treated by foreign doctors while he could not even walk past through his prison guards or even see a local doctor.
This grand spectacle is obscene because it is about political and civil rights to which millions of Filipinos derive no practical value and meaning and it is being debated in the Court and by media’s most pretentious pundits who love the verbosity of a constitutional debate outside the reality of most Filipino household.