De Lima says they are not "at war" with the SC justices

November 17, 2011 10:30 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 17 — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima on Thursday said she is not "at war" with the justices of the Supreme Court (SC) contrary to public perception.

De Lima was reacting to possible scenario of constitutional crisis, martial law and other problems that may crop up brought about by the dispute between the Executive and Judicial branches of government.

In an ambush interview, De Lima said that the DOJ maintained its stand that its motion for reconsideration (MR) should first be deliberated upon by the SC en banc before the DOJ recognizes the temporary restraining order (TRO) the SC issued, which stopped the implementation of the watchlist order (WLO) against the former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel 'Mike" Arroyo.

"Ang function dapat ng TRO is to prevent something from being moot and academic. 'Yun ang epekto ngayon ng TRO na yan. It already made prejudgment on the constitutionality of WLO. Kaya 'yun ang aming pinaka argumento kaya naghain muna kami ng MR bago namin kilalanin 'yun TRO," De Lima said.

The TRO was issued by the SC en banc on Tuesday and it was "immediately executory" upon the payment of the P2-million cash bond, appointment of a representative of the Arroyo couple to receive the legal processes and subpoenas, and for the Arroyo couple to report or call to the Philippine embassy or consulate to inform them of their presence in that particular country.

However, despite the TRO, the Arroyo couple were prevented from leaving the country on Tuesday night.

The WLO was issued against former first couple due to plunder and electoral sabotages charges filed against them before the DOJ.

De Lima said that they should first be heard by the SC justices because it was the right process prompted by the possible escape of the Arroyos to face the charges against them if they would be allowed to leave the country.

She said that the issuance of the TRO was not a unanimous decision of the SC justices and that there were other available remedies.

Hence, she said, they filed their MR, hoping that the majority of the justices of the highest court of the land would change their mind.

The DOJ chief assured that the DOJ would accept the outcome of the oral arguments, which was set by the SC en banc Tuesday next week, for as long as they would be given due process in presenting their position about the WLO and the TRO. (PNA) DCT/RMA/PTR/utb

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