Arroyo can’t leave yet; DOJ ruling expected Wednesday
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Friday she will decide Wednesday next week whether former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can go abroad to seek medical treatment despite being placed on the immigration watchlist for the plunder and electoral sabotage cases she faces.
“I’m targetting it on Wednesday, which is the first working day after the long weekend. I don’t want to issue the [allow-departure order] during the break,” De Lima told reporters.
Ms Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel were reportedly planning to leave during the four-day-long weekend starting Saturday.
De Lima confirmed that she has sought the help of Health Secretary Enrique Ona in evaluating the medical abstract submitted by Arroyo’s physician.
“I’m doing this because I’m just exercising due diligence, extra caution and prudence that before I make the decision… I have the benefit of these facts and insights so that we won’t make a wrong decision. I need special assistance in the medical aspect,” she said.
Department of Justice’s guidelines allow the issuance of an allow-departure order only in exceptional cases, De Lima said, adding, “Crucial to [to the determination of an exceptional reason] is the actual medical condition of the former President. Is there an urgency or extreme, compelling necessity for her to seek medical help abroad at this time?”