Airport authorities vow not to let Ex-President Arroyo, husband leave the country

November 17, 2011 10:30 pm 

By Benjie L. Vergara

MANILA, Nov. 17 — Authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday vowed not to allow former President and now Pampanga Rep. (2nd district) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo to leave the country.

Ramon S. Gutierrez, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general, said they have requested all aircraft owners and the Airline Operators Council (AOC) “your utmost cooperation in the implementation of the Watch List Order (WLO) No. 2011-573 issued against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.”

The Arroyos, armed with the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) against the WLO, came to the NAIA and tried to leave the country for Hong Kong through Dragon Air flight KA-932 last Tuesday night.

However, the Bureau of Immigration prevented them from leaving, saying there was a standing order from the Department of Justice which issued a watch list order against the couple.

According to the CAAP, “the WLO no. 2011-573, in effect, prohibits the departure of the above-mentioned personalities out of this country.”

The CAAP further said: “It is worth mentioning that the DOJ assumes the legal position for the existence of appropriate legal remedies that it is entitled to and intends to avail.”

“It is also the legal position of the DOJ that the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court is not yet effective and the subject WLO remains valid and in full force,” according to the CAAP statement.

The Arroyo camp earlier believed that there was a deliberate delay by airport officials for them to leave the airport last Tuesday that by the time they reached the pre-departure area, Dragon Air flight KA-932 bound for Hong Kong had already left.

It started when Mrs. Arroyo, who was on a wheelchair, was unable to descend to the second floor on a wheelchair because the elevator key that will lead them to Gate 1 boarding lounge was missing.

Although the departure zone is on the second floor, passengers usually enter the airport on the third floor for the usual immigration procedure, before they descend to the second floor where the departure zone are located.

The Arroyos go all the way to Gates 1 to 14 on the western satellite though their plane was parked at the eastern satellite.

On Wednesday afternoon, security were beefed up at the NAIA where Philippine National Police (PNP) anti-riot squad had been deployed at the departure area at a time when the Arroyos had booked a flight for Singapore but was later reported that the couple did not push through because the former president has been suffering from hypertension.(PNA) DCT/RMA/BLV/mec

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