Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quo Vadis Gloria - e-mail exchanges

Gloria and Mike Arroyo planned to fly the coop and tried to leave but were stopped by the Bureau of Immigration and the airport authorities despite the TRO document they carried to nullify the travel hold order that was issued by Leila de Lima of the DOJ. We have had lively discussions on the event via our group email.

The following are some of the exchanges that ensued:

 FROM: ed roa
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:09 AM
I really feel sorry for Sec Leila de Lima for the flak she has been receiving on her foursquare stand on not allowing PGMA and FG to leave the country. She should be urged on to keep up the fight no matter how vicious the attacks coming from PGMA’s cohorts who seem hell bent on sabotaging the administration’s efforts against corruption.This is what is at stake. Our hopes for a change will be dashed if the Madame and her band of outlaws are able to elude the posse.

The decision of the Supreme Court to allow PGMA and FG to leave for Singapore was based on the favorable vote of 8 PGMA appointed justices with 3 dissenting votes from Aquino appointed justices. This tells you a lot about the justice system in the country. Where is justice if the cases brought up to the highest court of the land will invariably be ruled on the basis of the proponents' affiliation? For a long time the justices system has been influenced by the feeling of beholdenment of the justices to the president who appointed them. This system easily falls to the temptation of appointing candidates who are not necessarily the most deserving but the most malleable, the most acquiescent, the most predisposed to obsequious gratitude because they would never have been appointed if it were not for this benefactor. What we end up with is a mob of hopping marsupials giving judgment of what is right and what is wrong in our lives.

Our justice system rests on the bedrock belief that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and the guilt has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt even though this may be an impossibility. Due process ensures that the rights and liberties of the individual are protected from errors that he or the defense panel might make and from the less judicious judgments by the courts. Better to err in favour of the accused than having to see an innocent man hanged. That sounds unassailable and difficult to argue against but what about the right of the collective public which seems to be disadvantaged by this judicial school of thought? The overprotection of the individual liberties has been overly favoured at the expense of the interest of the larger body of people, resulting into a situation that is inimical to their safety and well being. The blatancy and the frequency of the cases involving the wealthy and the powerful making use of their money and connections to delay or even subvert the observance of justice is prevalent in Philippine courts that it seems almost impossible to achieve quick justice or just plain justice itself. 
The problem with due process is that it tends to drag especially in cases where the accused has the wherewithal to engage the services of high calibre mercenary lawyers who know all the dirty tricks of a dastardly trade. 

By design, due process is supposed to ensure that the common “Juan” is not victimised by his circumstance and simple perspective, however, most of the cases which have made full use of these advantages are those of the privileged warlord, the bandit elite, the influential politician, the mighty military and others of a similar ilk who invariably engage a “dream team” of lawyers which only they, with their ill gotten resources can afford. Of late, even the medical practitioners have been conscripted as pawns to delay the judicial process. These medical practitioners should be taken to task and their false endorsements (if found out) should be considered as aiding and abetting a crime and be dealt a stern punishment.

In theory due process in the Justice System should work for us but in actual fact it doesn’t all the time. Often times it favours an unsavoury few.

FROM: ed roa From: Victor S Barrios <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: [AteneoGrupo58] Quo Vadis Gloria
I know where you're coming from, Ed. 

Your observations about deficiencies in the administration of justice are valid. 

The Philippines has no monopoly over a weak Rule of Law. All of the 14 countries I have done development work in has the same problem about the Rule of Law.

The objective is always to reform the justice system so as to raise the local Rule of Law to international standards.

But, in the meantime, citizens just have to follow "lex dura", rightly or wrongly.

Victor S. Barrios
Sent from my iPad2

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:38 PM
I agree with you Vic. It's just that there's a dint of frustration seeing all these things happening right in front of our eyes. Just indulging in some wishful thinking that maybe things will change for the better for the country and for the generations after us.

On Nov 16, 2011, at 1:35 PM, ed roa <> wrote:
I speak of the justice system in the Philippines which seems to have morphed into something where mockery of the law by a privilege few is commonplace.

The PGMA case is a good example of what I speak of. So much money has been spent, so many strings have been pulled and so many political favor chips are being cashed in to delay and to evade prosecution. 

The way the Supreme Court justices have allowed themselves to be party to a devious scheme to allow Gloria to fly the coop is unconscionable. How could they have allowed themselves to act in coordination with the escape plan. Timing was of the essence. How typically Gloria the whole plan was which made use of bookings in synch with the release of the TRO in late hours (so that the DOJ cannot react in time) on the very day of escape(how much like midnight appointments). How generous of them to impose easy conditions that cannot compel Gloria to return if indicted. Authorizing a lawyer to receive  subpoenas and documents on their behalf, reporting to embassies and consulates in countries they visit and the one that takes the cake is the posting of a P2million cash bond which will forfeited should Gloria fail to return. Do you think this will make her comply? Barya lang yan!

I implore our justices not to feel obligated to Gloria. Whatever benefits they enjoy in their positions are mere crumbs fallen from the Arroyo banquet table which are shared with other dogs grovelling underneath. Your dignity is worth more than dog food.

Sure, we should subscribe to the rule of law. Our laws are good and well crafted by our legislators, but, no matter how good they are if the supreme arbiters of the law are tainted there is no rule of law, there is only travesty of it.

From: Bert Bengzon <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:39 PM
Subject: Re: [AteneoGrupo58] Quo Vadis Gloria
Pls. enlighten me.
I have been under the impression that our judicial system has been creaking under the backlog of cases, and this has been an argument used to explain the long delays of court decisions.
In GMA's case, I'm taken aback by the alacrity, the speed  and timeliness in which a decision has been made. Does this mean that GMA's case was moved up to the head of the  long qeue? If so, WHY and HOW?
Thanks for input.
Bert B.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:01 AM
Subject: RE: [AteneoGrupo58] Quo Vadis Gloria


Sabi nga ni Joker Arroyo even the accused has a right to receive justice in the court. Hanggat wala pa siya kaso sa husgado, me karapatan siyang lumaya at bumiyahe. Ke tagal na iyang mga paratang ng pangngungulimbat at pandaraya sa halalan kelan ba isasampa ang mga paratang na ito. Yun lang.

Maginoo Datu SSI

Vladimir J. Olivares

CC:; vgf0

FROM: ed roa

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:19 PM
Bert, I'm not competent to answer that but I surmise that a lot of cases in the backlog are ongoing and are at various stages of completion. In the fairly recent high profile corruption cases against the generals, the Pagcor and others, charges have been filed and are ongoing trial. In fact charges against PGMA and FG are still to be filed (another subject of the controversy).
You may be right to assume that some urgency has been given to the cases pertaining to PGMA even if the DOJ seemed to have moved slowly. Pnoy himself mentioned that he wants the prosecutorial proceedings to start before Christmas. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with that since nobody, even PGMA's camp, raised any protest on it.
Ed R

·       ed roa
Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:31 AM
With all the confusion the barring of the exFirst couple from leaving generated, what you suggest seems to be the most sensible way this should have been handled.

Ed R

From: Jaime Morelos <>
To: "" <>; Ateneo for better Philippines <>
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 1:28 AM
Subject: Re: [AteneoGrupo58] Quo Vadis Gloria

I think the best solution will be to follow the Supreme Court TRO and allow  GMA go abroad, but if she seeks political asylum abroad then the Supreme Court Justices who voted for the TRO should be impeached for working against the interests of the country.


From: Victor S. Barrios <>
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 11:40 AM
Subject: [AteneoGrupo58] WHAT FR. BERNAS HAS TO SAY


Where’s Aquino in all these?

4:44 am | Thursday, November 17th, 2011
 19share440 417
Of course, this is not a joking matter because of the fundamental issues involved.  But in the face of the intransigence of executive officials, I cannot help but make a comparison between their actuations and those of Juan Manuel Marquez.  Neither can accept a referee’s decision graciously.
The first thing I would ask is: Where is the President in all these?
A basic constitutional doctrine is that the judgment of a department secretary is presumed to be the judgment of the President unless the President expressly reprobates it.  The President has not done so.  We must therefore conclude that, right or wrong, this is what he wants to happen.
If this is not what he wants, he can easily pick up the phone and tell what the department secretary what he wants.  The secretary must obey.  At the moment, we know where he stands.
Facts are clear
I believe that the facts are clear enough.  A travel ban was imposed on GMA (Arroyo) under the form of a “watch-list order.”  In effect,  it is a “hold-departure order.”
The lawyers of GMA petitioned the Supreme Court to order the ban lifted.  The petition was argued en banc and the Supreme Court spokesperson tells us that among the issues discussed by the justices were the right to travel, the right to life and the presumption of innocence.
In the end, the high court decided to issue a temporary restraining order, or TRO,  directing executive officials concerned to allow GMA to travel “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this court.”
What this means is that only the court, and nobody else, can lift this order.  And those ordered by the court must obey—if they recognize that we are under the rule of law.
On Tuesday night, GMA attempted to board a flight to Singapore. On orders of superior authority, GMA was not allowed to depart and had to spend the night at St Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.
Real reason
What was the reason given by executive officials?  They argued, eloquently and ad nauseam, that, since they had not yet received the written order, prudence and wisdom prevented them from allowing the flight.
True it is that normally an officer cannot implement a TRO unless he or she has received an official copy.  However, considering the circumstances of the person involved and the publicity that surrounded the court’s order, I find the official reasoning to smack of pharisaical adherence to the letter of the law. It seemed that last night only the executive officials had not yet heard of the TRO.
By this morning, however, it became evident that the nonreception of the official copy of the TRO was not the real reason.  The justice secretary simply does not want to lift the ban. It was the secretary who imposed the watch-list order.  She can lift it even without a TRO.
The justice secretary has already received the TRO.  Still, she continues to insist that GMA should not be allowed to leave.  The order of the Supreme Court that the TRO is “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court” means nothing to her.
Sad, sad thing
Where in the world are we today!!!
The justice secretary seems to be insisting now that a TRO is not effective once a petition for reconsideration is filed.  She intends to file one.
The view that a motion for reconsideration will stop the implementation of a TRO can make any TRO absolutely useless!  Wonders will never cease.
What I seem to be seeing in all these and in some public reaction is that anger and hatred of GMA has taken over and reason seems to be consigned to the sidelines.  That this seems to affect even the highest executive authorities is a sad, sad thing.
Of course, there is also the fear that GMA might not come back.  But the government is not too weak not to find ways to bring her back.

FROM: ed roa

Thursday, November 17, 2011 2:22 PM
Father Bernas explains it very clearly and in gist he states quite emphatically the law must prevail, as Vic Barrios said in an earlier exchange, “lex dura sed lex”, meaning the law is hard but it is the law.
As a non lawyer, non-constitutionalist and non-politician I am always in awe and sometimes uncomfortable with judicature forensics, prosecutorial protocols, court proceedings and technical aspects of law which make the guilty innocent and the innocent ludicrous. Now, I am awakened to the fact that I was Pharasiacal in my attitude and response to the PGMA and FG case. Maybe so because I was, and so did quite a few us, have made a judgement on the Arroyos even before charges were made.
For the layman, one should trust that those vested with the authority and the power to render ultimate judgement on what is right and what is wrong are just, unerring in their wisdom, and are men of good faith. And there lies my unease; Our Supreme court is made up people who have been appointed by presidents of the republic who invariably vote in favour of their benefactors/benefactresses when issues are placed on their benches. The recent event shows clearly this fault when 8 PGMA appointed justices voted in favour of allowing the ex first couple to leave the country while the 5 other justices, presumably allied with the current president voted otherwise. This lack of trust is not unfounded since the former president has had the brazenness to do midnight appointments much like   poison pill to stymie the Pnoy administration for so many reasons now unfolding. Unlike faith in the Almighty this faith on an aggrupation put together by politicians and lawyers must earn their robes of impartiality, humanity and independence so that the trust that the citizens give them is not imposed but deserved.

Some late breaking news announced the Ligots are also asking to be given permission to leave the country. If they have not been adjudged guilty then it is their constitutional right to do so. I am afraid this would start a dam burst and you have a long queue at the NAIA and there is nothing Leila de Lima can do about it.    

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