DOJ circular used by De Lima vs. ex-Pres. Arroyo unconstitutional — SC
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld its April 2018 decision declaring as unconstitutional a Department of Justice (DOJ) circular used by then Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to stop former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from leaving the country in 2011.
DOJ Circular No. 41 allowed the former Justice Secretary to stop from traveling abroad any suspects who are the subjects of a DOJ investigation.
The high court last April said the circular is unconstitutional because it violates the right to travel under Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution.
“The Court, in interpreting Article III, Section 6, determined that there was no legal basis for Department Circular No. 41 because of the absence of a law authorizing the Secretary of Justice to issue Hold Departure Orders (HDO), Watchlist Orders (WLO) and Allow Departure Order (ADO),” the high court said.
“As a consequence, all issuances released pursuant to said DOJ Department Circular are null and void,” said the decision was penned by Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr.
The circular was used by De Lima as the basis for three watchlist orders against Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo and former PAGCOR Chairman Ephraim Genuino.
Then wheelchair-bound Arroyo and her husband were stopped by immigration authorities on November 6, 2011 from boarding a Hong Kong-bound plane.
They were unable to leave the country despite a temporary restraining order issued by the SC against the circular.
The camp of De Lima earlier submitted a motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of the April 2018 ruling of the Supreme Court.
However, this motion was dismissed by the high court during Tuesday’s en banc (full court) session for failure to raise new arguments. /vvp
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