Press Release
November 16, 2011

Transcript DZXL interview Cayetano on Arroyo leaving the country

Interviewer: Senator Alan, magandang umaga po.

Magandang magandang umaga po sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan.

Interviewer: Anong mga reaksyon niyo sa mga kaganapan matapos mag-issue ng TRO ang Korte Suprema?

Himayin muna natin. Iba yung 'what' at iba ang 'how'. Halimbawa yung 'what', ibig sabihin ano ba ang kailangan gawin ng gobyerno? We all know that the former president is being accused of electoral sabotage and plunder as well as using her power to steal, cheat and lie.

We also all know that majority of Filipinos wants to hold her accountable. We also know that the biggest problem in our country is corruption. And if the accused gets to escape, it will be a mockery of the justice system.

We know that the President and the executive is tasked to implement the law. One side of the law is to hold her accountable. The other side of the law is to respect her civil rights and give her due process.

Ang problema ay very unique yung sitwasyon ngayon. Kasi kung pinayagan siyang umalis, pwedeng hindi na siya bumalik. She has all the resources to keep on hiding and to go to more than 190 countries without extradition treaties with the Philippines. If former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano was able to hide from the government, what more a former president with sufficient amounts of resources at her disposal.

The controversy right now lies on the 'how'. First and foremost, can you stop someone from travelling with only a watch list order? That is not yet considered a hold departure order.

The Supreme Court issued a TRO before they could decide on the merit. That means the court has not decided yet with finality if the WLO is legal or not. What it is saying is that: 'Sandali lang, hindi pa pwede yan habang mag-uusap palang kami at habang may oral arguments pa na kailangan gawin'. That is where the dilemma on the 'how' comes in.

Usually a TRO is issued to avoid grave injustice. Ang problema sa sitwasyon na ito kung next week pa tayo mag-o-oral argument at naka-alis na ang mga Arroyo, hindi mo na mapapabalik 'yan kung ayaw na nila bumalik.

Nasa isang kalagayan ang gobyerno na 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'. If the Arroyos were able to leave the country last night, the government will not have any assurance that they will come back and the Filipino people will wake up this morning blaming the government for letting the Arroyos slip away from the hands of justice yet again.

Interviewer: Tama po yung sinasabi niyo. Although gusto ko ring magtanong kung sa interpretasyon ninyo sa pahayag ni Midas Marquez na kapag nabigay po ng TRO ang Korte Suprema ay immediate po ang execution nito.

That's correct and even if some think it is not correct, the Supreme Court is always correct.

Interviewer: Sa puntong ito, yung TRO po kahapon?

For lawyers like us, the Supreme Court is not always correct but it is always supreme since it is the highest arbiter. But what I am trying to explain is that it may not be right to say that this is applicable to all Filipinos and to you and me.

Remember, when President Marcos was allowed to return to the country, the courts said that this is not applicable to everyone, it is a unique situation. It is because he is a former President with the capability of destabilizing or causing security problems to our country.

When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was officially sworn in as President even if president Erap has not resigned, the court also said that this is a case applicable only to this situation and not to all other cases.

So I think this is where the Justice Secretary is trying to draw the line. Na iba itong kasong ito. This is not a civil liberty case applicable to all of us. But I will agree that is a very, very fine line.

Ang problema ito ay kaso na aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo. Meaning if they did allow the President to leave, what would happen?

Interviewer: Paano naman kung mamatay bago malutas yung kaso sa korte dahil hindi natin pinayagang magpagamot sa ibang bansa?

But the government already said that there is no showing whatsoever that she needs treatment abroad or that there is a life threatening case.

Interviewer: Kailangan po ba naghihingalo bago dalhin abroad?

Hindi naman po.

Interviewer: Diba kapag malubha naman po hindi na po pasasakayin sa eroplano?

That's right.

Interviewer: Kailangan itanong talaga sa mga doctor kung talagang may sakit?

The question is if she can be treated here without leaving the country or if we can bring in the experts to our country. Both of which were already answered by the government.

This is a very unique situation as a lawyer. As a general rule, you cannot stop anyone from travelling, and it is very clear in the constitution that the only limitations are: security, public health and the watch list or hold departure order.

But as I said, this is an extraordinary case under an extraordinary circumstance.

It may also be true when some lawyers said: "Kung sana nag-file na lang sila ng kaso and then may kasamang hold departure order, wala na tayong paguusapan".

Interviewer: Yun nga po, bakit ang tagal? Mag-da-dalawang taon na po.

I agree totally with you. But look at the other side, if you file a weak case with insufficient evidence, the court would throw it out anyway. Because if that happens, GMA will most probably go to the Supreme Court again and say there is no probable cause.

Interviewer: Base sa mga usap-usapan ay may mga ebidensiya naman laban sa dating pangulo pero bakit hindi po maisampa?

If you remember, I was one of those who said from the start that they should already file cases against the Arroyos.

In the Department of Agriculture, those involved in the Fertilizer Scam should have not been given a chance to retain their positions in the agency and cases should have been filed so that they will be compelled to identify the people above them who should be held accountable. The same thing should have been done to those involved in the NBN-ZTE scam who are still in DOTC.

But having said all of that, in corruption cases, it is hard to pin down someone like the president if no one is talking at the time of her incumbency. But remember what happened when Ampatuan's people stood up as witnesses both in the cases of plunder and electoral fraud.

In the situation with President Erap before, the Ombudsman and civil societies were all ready and those used in the impeachment case were used again as evidence.

In the case of President Arroyo, the government had to wait for witnesses that they think were credible enough to come out and reveal what they know.

I'd like to criticize the system at some point in time but like I said yesterday, I won't point fingers. We can't go on like this playing the blame game all the time.

Interviewer: Hangga't maari ang magandang maging punto dito ay ang karapatan ng isang indibidwal. Baka po ang maging perception dito ay parang nagbabastusan at hindi mairespeto ng ehekutibo ang hudikatura, tulad ng Supreme Court. Kasi sa mga nakaraang kaso, kapag may TRO, hinto kaagad pero dito sa kasong ito ay talagang ramdam po natin na pumapalag ang executive.

There have been precedents in the United States where the Executive and even Legislative or the Executive and the Judiciary ay 'nagbanggaan' and it could have caused a constitutional crisis.

Remember, during the time when I was still in the House of Representatives, if we insisted that the impeachment against SC chief Justice Davide be pursued, we could have had a constitutional crisis.

Ganoon din po kung nagpilit kami na kunin si Sec.Neri kung napagdesisyunan na mali ang desisyon ng SC. Pero hindi namin ginawa.

On one hand, yes we might be courting a 'banggaan' of the Executive and Supreme Court but if you listened to Sec. De Lima yesterday, it seems like 'tumutulay po siya sa alambre'.

She claimed she hasn't received a copy of the TRO. Technically, that's right. She can't simply base it on the news that there is a TRO from Supreme Court and know its contents.

I can say that there were efforts too from Sec. De Lima. That's why I said they have to do something within the next 72 hours because everything will change if the Supreme Court suddenly says "Lahat ng arguments mo, Secretary, mali. Payagan mo na siyang umalis".

If that happens, they will have to file the cases and the hold departure order.

But, as of today, I agree with civil rights leaders and lawyers that as a general rule, you cannot do something like this and you cannot deny the right of someone to travel. But I would also tell them, "You cannot compare all of us with GMA." Just like the Supreme Court said during the time of President Arroyo, not to mention what happened during the time of President Marcos.

The situation at hand is unique and if the government allows her to leave, it will be a bigger issue. Ang karapatan ng tao kasi kailangan ibalanse natin sa karapatan ng estado na protektahan ang sarili niya.

Reporter: Ibang-iba nga ang kasong ito pero sa panayam kay Midas Marquez, nagbigay ng tatlong kondisyon ang Supreme Court. Ang pangatlo dito, sinabi na kinakailangan na mag-report sa embahada natin kung saan sila pupunta para malaman. Ibig sabihin, ang concern din ng Supreme Court ay baka tumakas at huwag naman makalibre sa mga posibleng kaso dito sa Pilipinas.

Ang alam ko sa watchlist, dapat babantayan ka lang, pero hindi ka basta pipigilan na umalis. Pero kung lalagyan nila ng kondisyon, parang may piyansa ka na.

Since they were required to deposit P2 million pesos, that means they can confiscate the P2 million if she does not come back. Secondly, the requirement for them to report to the embassy abroad, for me, that is also impeding the right to travel. Wala pa akong naririnig na ganoon.

Pero kung titingnan natin, ang ordinaryong OFW, araw-araw halos, may hinaharang sa airport dahil wala daw exit permit. You will see that even without a hold departure order, there are circumstances where the government can put people on hold. Ang problema kasi, ang ginamit nilang rason dito, 'yung watchlist order na kontrobersyal sa Supreme Court.

They said it also risks national security. The precedent is that this is also the same reason used to not allow President Marcos to leave before.

Ang nakikita ko ngayon, malapit, pero hindi pa naman sa punto na may constitutional crisis, sapagkat ang pahayag pa ng Justice Secretary ay hintayin natin ang final decision ng SC.

Because she's making an issue about whether or not the TRO was right. Ngayon kasi, kapag nakaalis si GMA, hindi na niya mapapabalik, at hindi pa naman sinasabi ng Supreme Court na ang watchlist order ay illegal dahil 'yung hearing ay next week pa.

The problem is if the Supreme Court were to act again in the next few days, and clarifies its order, then the Secretary will have to follow it.

Reporter: Mr, Senator, alam natin na kung law student ka at kung pagbabasehan lamang ay ang mga aralin, malilito ka dito sa mga developments sa kasalukuyan, that I'm inclined to believe na depende sa kinakasuhan katulad ni dating Presidenteng Gloria. Pero ang Supreme Court naman talaga ang nag-iinterpret nang hindi emotional o speculative ang kanilang gagawin.

That's right. For a law student listening now, if they are going to say that Alan Cayetano, or Bobby Guanzon were in the airport and are being stopped from traveling, and the Supreme Court sends out an order, should the Secretary follow? Ang magiging sagot natin, oo. Kasi iba ang sitwasyon natin.

We're not being accused of plunder and we were not in power for 10 years so we do not have the resources. For every other Filipino, this could be applicable. But there are circumstances that are extraordinary. And this is what happened in the Marcos days. This is what happened in the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo days when she was still president.

Reporter: Papaanong approach ba ito? Anong style ito?

Kung titingnan ninyo ang istatwa ng justice, nakapikit ang mga mata. Ibig sabihin, pare-pareho dapat ang tingin sa lahat. Pero hindi naman ibig sabihin, ipapareho niya ang hindi pareho.

In the same manner that everyone has to be treated the same. If the situation is not the same, it cannot be said that the situation is the same. Meaning, the issue should not be on whether or not the accused is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

What are the circumstances? Iba ang circumstances niya.

When she was sworn in, the Supreme Court said that is a different case. Now, if President Aquino for some reason suddenly resigns, the Supreme Court will say 'constructive resignation 'yan'. They will say it's a different case.

It should also be acceptable to law students that an equal protection if they are situated differently, have a different applications.

My interpretation to what the Justice Secretary said yesterday is this: a TRO, usually, is issued to prevent an injustice. In this case, it is the other way around.

Kung sinunod mo ang TRO, makakaalis lahat at baka hindi na bumalik.

She's in a situation where if she followed, there may also be injustice. Kapag hindi niya sinunod, sasabihin na hindi niya sinunod. That's why she was very technical yesterday when she said that she has not received her copy of the TRO.

Let me just emphasize what I said earlier. I totally agree with holding the former President accountable. On the issue of the "how", I agree that there will be a legal debate on this.

Reporter: Ayon kay Sec. De Lima, iu-urgent yung paghingi ng motion laban sa paglabas sa TRO. Tama ba na hindi sinunod?

Again, as a general rule, hindi pwede. But, again, as a general rule, a TRO is issued to prevent an irreparable damage. In this case, it's the other way around. If you follow the TRO, there will be an irreparable damage to our justice system.

I think the Secretary sees that if the rights of the former President are not protected in the next few days, there will be no damage to her. But if she gets to leave, there will be damage to our justice system.

Regarding the filing of cases, I assume that they are working on that right now. But if they already filed a case yesterday, or the other day, without following the prescribed number of days when the cases should be filed, this will be dismissed.

Reporter: Sabi ni Fr. Bernas, hindi na daw po ito injustice, cruelty na.

I'm trying my best to distance myself from the former president because I'm known to be their critic, but in a sense, and we've all seen her and have heard her condition, if that were really true, one is inclined to feel sorry for her.

But some are saying that in her picture with the people of Dominican Republic, she looked strong and healthy. Noong aalis, biglang nasa wheelchair na. Sinasabi ng iba parang may drama ito. Ang hirap naman magsalita dahil hindi naman ako doktor. Hindi ko masasabing drama talaga.

Unlike in the case of Mike Arroyo, when we called him to appear to the Senate, even the government doctors said that that will be a threat to his health. Baka mamatay. That was very clear.

In this case, hindi pa tayo umaabot sa Supreme Court na pwede nilang patunayan na ganoon ang sitwasyon nila. The government has offered that they will fly in all of the experts.

Just to take note also, the first family has not said where exactly they will seek medical help, if they have scheduled procedures, etc. They just identified the countries they wanted to go to. For me, that's also one thing that puts doubt on their real intentions in leaving the country.

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