International human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney has confirmed what some of us have been saying all along – that former President and Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo‘s human rights are being violated by the Philippine government under the leadership of President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino.
As early as 2011, concerned individuals have already highlighted how the cases against Arroyo seem to have been rushed just to meet the criteria needed to prevent her from leaving the country in her bid to seek medical treatment for her problems with her cervical spine. Despite the fact that there was still no pending case against Arroyo at that time, her right to travel and her right to presumption of innocence have been trampled upon by the Aquino administration.We recall that there was pandemonium at the Manila international airport in November 2011 when Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima panicked after she found out Arroyo was leaving the country and ordered officers at the airport to help bar her from leaving for Singapore. And with the assistance of the media in inciting anger against Arroyo, some members of the public also joined the fray – besieging her at the airport. Her frail and helpless appearance on a wheelchair did not stop them from acting like a lynch mob. The scene resulted in a standoff because Arroyo’s supporters insisted on her right to travel abroad as stated in the Philippine Constitution.
De Lima’s initial violation back then was in defying the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the travel ban against Arroyo. De Lima even risked disbarment for ignoring the highest court’s order. Senator Miriam Santiago likewise questioned De Lima’s action citing the DOJ had no legal basis to issue a watch-list order against Arroyo since there was no pending case against the former President and was only a respondent in a joint DOJ Comelec investigation on electoral fraud at that time.