GMA must come to court with clean hands while Pnoy twiddles his fingers.Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s attempts to escape justice and frustrate efforts to prosecute her is in plain view that nobody could have missed it. The minute she steps out of the country, the quest for justice will almost certainly fall apart. She will most probably wait it out till the political atmosphere and conditions are more conducive or accommodating to her political rehabilitation while she is “recuperating” or dodging imagined “political persecution.”
Amidst the competing views and the complex legal and political implications surrounding the issue, it is sad that prudence took the back seat. The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was seen by not a few as having been issued with rather undue and unusual haste even as there is no compelling urgency for it. Oral arguments and studied contemplation should have been done first. Arroyo’s health condition is, fortunately, not life threatening.
While the Arroyos cry that their rights are being violated, the speedy issuance of the TRO has made some sectors of our society squirm in astonishment. It does not help any that there are pervasive perceptions that the results appear to hew to clear partisan lines. It could be seen as giving a relief that is precisely the meat of the petition and may in fact result in irreparable justice that can not be undone, to the utter disadvantage of the Filipino people and their interest in making high public officials really accountable and that impunity must stop, once and for all. There also is an apparent double standard with which the cases of privileged litigants with power and influence, like the Arroyos, are being treated.
The situation must be put into perspective. Needless to say, the surrounding facts and circumstances show thatArroyo is abusing the right to travel as a plausible ruse to escape accountability for the grave crimes she allegedly committed of which there is strong evidence. Even the “devil can quote the Scriptures,” so to speak. But the law should not be taken in abstraction; instead it must be applied in a concrete legal and political situation, with the dispensation of justice as the overriding goal. As has been said before, “general propositions do not decide specific cases.”
Ironically, it bears noting that DOJ Department Circular 41 was issued during Arroyo’s time. It is downright odd and curious that she and her allies cry justice and due process now that things have turned and they are on the other receiving end. She and the former First Gentleman must come to court with clean hands. They must also drop the tasteless “persecution complex” and poor victim stunt.
We support all efforts to exhaust all possible remedies to stop attempts of the Arroyos to flee. Too many tyrants, here and abroad, have tried to escape accountability through the hospital door. For history not to repeat itself, we should be vigilant as the events that surely have long term effects on our nation unfold before our eyes. We can argue how many angels can dance on a head of pin but at the end of the day, the issue all boils down to accountability of our public officials. Can we really get justice?
Had President Aquino accompanied the rhetoric and blame game with prompt and concrete legal actions in prosecuting the Arroyos as part of its campaign against corruption, it would not have come to this high drama. While the Arroyos are rushing to leave the country, Pnoy was twiddling his fingers in decisively filing cases in court against them not only for big time corruption and unmitigated plunder but also for the most heinous violations of basic human rights#
Atty. Edre U. Olalia
NUPL Secretary General
UST hosts international education conference
In celebration of its 400th anniversary, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) host the biggest international higher education conference on Wednesday, Nov. 15. An estimated 800 delegates from Asia, Europe, America and Australasia are set to convene for the 7th QS Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education (QS-APPLE) Conference and Exhibition to be held until Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 at the newly constructed UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
The conference, jointly organized by the QS Apple Academic Committee and the UST, will discuss the challenges of making higher education accessible to all in developing countries.
With this, parallel sessions featuring general and specific aspects of international higher education will be tackled, namely Internationalizing the Student Body: International Student Recruitment, Support and Exchange; Internationalizing the Curriculum: Educating Global Citizens; Building World-Class Universities in the Asia-Pacific: Strategies for Institutional Capacity Building; Trans-national Education and International Partnerships; The Global Higher Education Market: Trends, Policies and Key Developments; and Social Justice and Access to Higher Education.