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Palace demands travel plan from Arroyos

/ 05:30 PM November 03, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang wants to know which countries former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo intends to go to before the Department of Justice decides on whether to allow her to travel in the wake of criminal complaints filed against her before the DOJ.

Undersecretary Abigail Valte, the deputy presidential spokesperson, made the remarks following Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s news conference announcing that she has not made a decision and would be weighing all considerations carefully before deciding whether to grant the former president and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, “allowed departure orders.”

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“We need to validate the shifting information, the ever-changing information provided to the DOJ,” Valte said in Thursday’s news conference in Malacañang.

Asked whether Malacañang was concerned over the absence of extradition treaties with the countries Arroyo would like to visit, Valte said, “This is not just the medical issue.”

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“We don’t have a final list of the destinations that are intended to be visited by the former President. And as such, we would have the final list,” Valte said.

“If you checked the reports, the places intended to be visited change. We would like to get a final list before a decision is made by Secretary De Lima,” she added.

Valte said the administration supported the Department of Justice circular on the requirement for an allowed departure order, saying the policy “enjoys the presumption of constitutionality.”

“The Supreme Court has yet to issue any pronouncement to the contrary,” Valte said.

Valte indicated the government would comply with the Supreme Court ruling on the matter if the issue was brought before the tribunal.

Asked if government would check if the country had extradition treaties with the countries that Arroyo would like to go to in the course of her medical treatment, Valte said, “It’s really on the purpose of the issuance of the allowed departure order.”

“It is is the circular itself that we have to provide an itinerary of the person asking for the ADO,” Valte said.

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Valte wouldn’t comment on whether Malacañang believed Arroyo would no longer return to the country if she was allowed to leave.

“I do not want to comment on that. We do not want to prejudice the evaluation of Secretary De Lima,” Valte said.

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TAGS: Crime, Department of Justice, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Hold Departure Order, Jose Miguel Arroyo, News, Travel, watch list
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