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DOJ, OSG file urgent consolidated MR on SC's TRO vs. Arroyos' WLO

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed on Wednesday morning an urgent consolidated motion for reconsideration (MR) on the Supreme Court's temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the implementation of the DOJ's watchlist order (WLO) against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

The DOJ and the OSG filed the 37-page urgent consolidated MR before the SC on the TRO allowing the Arroyo couple to travel abroad and on their two separate petitions against the WLO as well as the questions on the constitutionality of Department Circular No. 41 authorizing the Justice Secretary to issue a WLO or a hold departure order (HDO) against an individual.

They questioned the issuance of the TRO blocking the existing watchlist order against the former president and her husband.

DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima and Solicitor General Jose Anselmo "Joel" Cadiz argued that "the right to travel is not absolute." They maintained that the WLO and DOJ Department Circular No. 41 have legal and constitutional basis.

The DOJ and the OSG also argued that with the issuance of the TRO, a prejudgment on the pending case has already been made and that the proceedings of the other aspects of the case will be set aside.

They also sought for the immediate lifting of the TRO against the DOJ's WLO on the Arroyo couple.

It can be recalled that the SC en banc also on Tuesday granted the petition of the OSG for the conduct of an oral argument on the two petitions of the Arroyos.

The separate petitions of Mrs. Arroyo and the former First Gentlemen were consolidated by the SC en banc and set for oral arguments next week.

The WLO was issued against the Arroyo couple because of the plunder and electoral sabotage charges filed against them.

Cadiz said that they are ready to explain before the SC en banc on why the WLO against the former First Couple is still effective despite the ruling of the SC to allow them to travel abroad.

The copy of the resolution of the SC en banc was furnished on Wednesday to the Office of Secretary De Lima, the OSG and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Both the OSG and the BI are attached agencies of the DOJ.

The BI, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the management of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are under instructions to block any attempt of the Arroyo couple to leave the country.

The DOJ chief and the Solicitor General held a closed-door meeting for almost two hours before the filing of the consolidated MR.

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.- PNA




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