Press Release
November 16, 2011

De Lima should review her moves and overhaul her legal advisers--Sotto

Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III today said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should now probably consider reviewing her moves and "overhaul" her legal advisers, if she's keeping some counsels.

"If only to spare the administration from further embarrassment and from courting unnecessary troubles, I think she should take a look back and weigh the possible consequences of her actions. I'm beginning to be convinced with the estimation of one of my colleagues, that Pres. Aquino is surrounded by mediocres," Sen. Sotto III said.

Tuesday's issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court on a Department of Justice directive that placed Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the watchlist order, proved Palace' legal experts wrong and showed that most senators were right in citing the serious flaws of the moves of the Executive department.

Even some of the administration's own allies in the Senate had previously and repeatedly pointed this out, he said.

"Mali na nga from the start, pinaninindigan pa. Now, they're getting a dose of their own medicine. Immaturity and recklessness, that's the kind of message they seem to be trying to send now to the public. Instead of establishing and justifying grounds why GMA should be placed in the WLO, they went head-on in insisting its legality. Now, they're reaping what they sow. They only have themselves to blame," the Majority Leader said.

"The High Court has already spoken, the right to travel can not be curtailed. That is a constitutionally-guaranteed right of every Filipino. And judging from what happened, GMA is not prohibited from traveling even when the SC decision is under appeal," Sen. Sotto III emphasized.

The DOJ's legal experts should have anticipated both a favorable and unfavorable ruling from the High Tribunal and this may have prevented the incident in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 1 from happening, the Majority Leader said.

"Even if GMA flees from the country, there's no stopping them from running after her. With a high-profile person like the former president, I don't think it would be that easy for her to disappear in thin air. Besides, if they're really that competent, I'm sure they can devise of ways in forcing her to come back and face the charges in court. But what charges are we talking about in the first place?" Sen. Sotto asked.

"If the former president would choose not to deal with the allegations against her, that's her own look-out. The long arm of the law will eventually catch up on her anyway. The most serious retribution she will receive, I think, will not be meted by the court of law but the public," he said.

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