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What senators say

Senators were meanwhile divided over the implications of the electoral sabotage charges brought against Arroyo as the Supreme Court had made it clear that the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued allowing her to leave the country remained in “full force.”

Sen. Edgardo Angara said the case appeared to be an “afterthought” in the face of the legal argument that Arroyo cannot be barred from leaving without being formally charged in court.

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“You cannot cure an unauthorized ban simply by filing a case after. It may be interpreted as an afterthought,” Angara said.

Asked if the Pasay judge could issue a hold-departure order on Arroyo on the same day that the electoral sabotage case was filed, Angara said in Filipino: “I think it would be harassment already if that happens.”

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But Sen. Panfilo Lacson welcomed the filing of the case against Arroyo, saying that “while the timing of the filing is suspect, it cannot be said that the case was railroaded by the Comelec.”

“Let us not forget that the 2007 election was blatantly fraudulent at the behest of GMA and the Comelec… It is but right to make GMA (Arroyo) and (former Comelec Chair Benjamin) Abalos et al. accountable,” he said.

Sen. Francis Escudero said the issue of the DOJ’s defiance of the high tribunal’s TRO would be rendered “moot and academic” if the Pasay Regional Trial Court issued a warrant of arrest.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, a leader of the ruling Liberal Party, said the case before the Supreme Court concerning the watch-list order issued by De Lima against Arroyo was now moot.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III hailed the high court en banc decision affirming its TRO and requiring De Lima to show cause why she should not be cited for contempt for defying its order.

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TAGS: arrest warrant for Gloria Arroyo, Electoral sabotage charges, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Edgardo Angara, Sen. Francis Escudero, Sen. Franklin Drilon, Sen. Panfilo Lacson
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