THE Supreme Court has declared as unconstitutional the “watchlist order,” which then Justice secretary Leila de Lima issued against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that prevented her from leaving the country in 2011.
In a ruling penned by Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., the Supreme Court cited de Lima for “grave abuse of discretion” when she issued Department of Justice (DOJ) Circular 41 Series of 2010 against Arroyo, who was unable to board her flight to Hong Kong to seek medical treatment after authorities stopped her at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on November 16, 2011. She elevated her case to the high tribunal after.
The high court said that the “right to travel” under the 1987 Constitution was a constitutionally guaranteed right under the Bill of Rights and no “wathclist order” of the DOJ could override it.
The Supreme Court ruling effectively nullifies the power of the DOJ to issue “watchlist orders.”
Only Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa inhibited from the case. JOMAR CANLAS