Peoples’ lawyers accuses PNoy of ‘twiddling fingers’ in Arroyo case

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers is cautioning President Aquino not to take the law in ab­straction. “Instead, it must be applied in a concrete legal and political situation, with the dispen­sation of justice as the overriding goal,” said the Filipino lawyers’ group in a press release. Licensed to Flee
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.