No urgent need to grant ADO for former president, says De Lima

November 3, 2011 9:45 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 3 — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima on Thursday said that she needs a few days to decide on former President and now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's request to leave the Philippines.

Rep. Arroyo, her husband former First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo and several others are facing electoral sabotage charges before the DOJ in connection with the alleged manipulation of the results of the 2004 senatorial elections.

In a press conference, De Lima said that "there seems to be no immediate necessity for us to grant ADO (allow departure order) for the former president".

De Lima said that in the three letters sent by Mrs. Arroyo to the DOJ, there was no mention of countries of destination, but it can be found in certain attachments.

De Lima noted that in the first travel order issued by House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, Jr. dated Sept. 16, 2011, they mentioned three countries, namely, United States (US), Germany and Spain.

"We do respect the right of a person whether a VIP (very important person) or an ordinary person to seek medical treatment from a doctor of his or her confidence," De Lima said.

However, in the Oct. 21, 2011 letter sent by Rep. Arroyo to De Lima, she just mentioned three countries, namely, Singapore, Germany and Austria to seek consultations with medical specialists.

Aside from Rep. Arroyo, included in the entourage are the former first gentleman, an aide-de-camp and a private nurse.

De Lima asked Arroyo to submit final list of countries of destination.

On the opinion of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona, De Lima said, the health condition of Mrs. Arroyo "is not life threatening at the moment".

There were no attachments from medical specialists, De Lima said.

Likewise, De Lima also said that she received a reliable information about the real agenda or itinerary of the former first couple, including the countries they intend to go to and that not only five but more than 10 persons are in the entourage.

However, De Lima said that she is not at liberty to disclose who they are, stressing that, these information are from reliable sources.

De Lima is set to leave for Columbia for an official meeting.

She will be back on Tuesday next week. (PNA)

RMA/PTR/mec

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