Dangerous precedent

PRESIDENT Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s administration is wrong to try and set a dangerous and anti-libertarian precedent when it barred Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband from leaving the country early this week even after the Supreme Court ruled allowing them to go.

I have no love lost for the Arroyos and their ilk but I respectfully submit that preventing her to leave the country even after the SC’s ruling removing any basis for the travel ban goes against the very essence why the masses rose up against the Marcos dictatorship in the 1980’s.

Article III (Bill of Rights) Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution says the right to travel shall not be impaired “except in the interest of national security, public safety or public health, as may be provided by law.”

This simply meant that the right to travel under existing laws can only be impaired by a lawful order of the court under the limits prescribed by law. As such a court of law must be limited by three factors namely: national security, public safety or public health, before it could restrict the right of any individual to travel.

None of the limitations set by the Constitution applies to the Arroyos. What we saw last Tuesday is not the all-powerful former Malacañang tenant but an ailing old woman.

As of this writing I learned with a sigh of relief that the Supreme Court ruled that the Temporary Restraining Order against the enforcement of the travel ban against the Arroyos is “in full force and in effect.”

Had the Supreme Court ruled differently and allowed the enforcement of a department circular with clear fascistic leanings that would be a big blow against the libertarian nature of our body politics.


A LOT of political observers I spoke with recently said the Aquino administration only has itself to blame for the near constitutional crisis that its unconstitutional travel ban on the Arroyos caused.

They noted that it has been in power for more than 16 months but it has yet to file any corruption charges against the Arroyos and their political allies. (As of this writing it was reported in the news media that the Commission on Elections has filed election sabotage charges against the Arroyos in a regional trial court).

“Kung walang nakasampang kaso, ano ang basis ng hold departure order?” one political pundit asked me to which I replied “wala.”

The fear of those who are in favor of the travel ban is that the Arroyos would elude justice by fleeing abroad until a favorable political climate here arises. Let us not forget, however, that the Arroyos, as of this writing, are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

I submit that it’s not impossible that the Arroyos would flee from the Philippines but if they do ran away they would be forever perceived, rightly or wrongly, to have stolen Malacañang from the late Fernando Poe Jr. during the 2004 presidential elections and the millions of pesos  from the public coffers.

They would also be blamed for the proliferation of a culture of impunity in all branches of government, military and civilian sectors alike.

Does boredom wear you down or is there just a nagging feeling that you want to get away from the metropolis and be with Mother-Nature? Then go and visit Bato Springs in Barangay San Cristobal, San Pablo City.

Located at the foot of the mystical Mt. Banahaw, Bato Springs is just one hour and 30 minute drive from Manila. You have a spacious parking space that could even ac-commodate tourist buses and first class amenities for all your business and plea-sure needs.

For more information call Ms. Elaine Garchitorena at 0495620976.

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