WITH DUE RESPECT to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Mike Arroyo as well as to their lawyers, and without intention of influencing the courts (who am I anyway to sway the court?), but only for the purpose of academic discussions that are now the object of highest public interest, I dare say without fear of contradiction that the arguments advanced by them are puerile.

           So that if I am coming out with these disquisitions, my purpose is to educate the public.

           Consider the following point-by-point rebuttal:

           First, no matter the fact that it was the DOJ-Comelec panel that conducted the preliminary investigation, they must know that THE EXCLUSIVE POWER TO DELEGATE WHO TO CONDUCT PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION BELONGS TO THE COMELEC ALONE.


           They must have forgotten that all City and Provincial and DOJ prosecutors have standing authority given long time ago by the Comelec of old to conduct investigations on election offenses, provided they submit their recommendations to the Comelec for approval or rejection.

            It is the Comelec that finally decides whether to adopt the recommendation of the prosecutors, or even a joint DOJ-Comelec prosecutors.  

           Since the criminal information for electoral sabotage was approved only by the Comelec En Banc and signed by the Chairman and Commissioners who voted, and no one else signed the same then the approval of the criminal information for electoral sabotage was more than sufficient to vest valid authority to the criminal information. 

           Second, it is puerile for the Arroyo lawyers to argue that the independence of the Comelec as an independent Constitutional body was compromised when it was constituted into a joint DOJ-Comelec panel to investigate the said electoral sabotage case.  

          There can be no compromise of independence because it will still be the Comelec En Bank alone that will approve or not the recommendation of the DOJ-Comelec panel.  Not one DOJ prosecutor, not even Secretary Leila De Lima, voted for the approval of the recommendation of the DOJ-Comelec panel.

            Third, it is vague for the Arroyo lawyers to argue that the Comelec railroaded the investigation.  

            This is because the preliminary investigation has begun more than a month ago and Gloria and the rest were subpoenaed to file their counter-affidavits and counter-evidence but she opted to remain silent that was her right under the Constitution.

            In fact, the public knows that a month before Arroyo already filed a motion to the DOJ-Comelec panel to allow her to travel. But when it was denied by De Lima, she went to the Supreme Court that led to the issuance of the highly-volatile TRO.

            Fourth, it is improbable for the Arroyo lawyers to argue that Judge Jesus B. Mupas of RTC Pasay Branch 112 railroaded the determination of probable cause for trial and arrest because it took him only four hours. 

           Hello, even in 30 minutes, any ordinary good lawyer can do the job of resolving the issue of whether there was probable cause for arrest and trial. It is easy to do.  

           All that is needed to do is just read the criminal information approved by the Comelec En Banc, then proceed to the marked annexes of affidavits and evidence to assess if these were enough to have a good chance at conviction.

           Fifth, it is also like quacking like a duck without an egg for Arroyo lawyers to complain that when the criminal information was filed, the RTC of Pasay immediately conducted a raffle without first notifying the parties, unlike in ordinary cases.

           These lawyers must know that in applying for a search warrant, there is no need to raffle the case to know what branch, upon the justification of the nature that the goods to be seized would be rushed out by the criminals concerned if the application for warrant would still require calling on the criminals to attend the raffle. 

            The bottom line here is the nature of emergency: that there was already a clear and present danger to the interest and sovereignty of the State to fail to seize illegal goods.  If the application for a search warrant is not acted upon right away, chances are the prohibited goods would have already been carted away before the warrant is issued. 

            The same principle of the URGENCY OF THE MOMENT justifies the immediate raffle by the Executive Judge of the RTC (the chief of all RTC branches). 

            As such, the RTC Executive Judge must have found there was a clear and present danger to the State constituted by the very high possibility that Gloria could run out of the reach of the Philippine jurisdiction that she would no longer come back.

            In all kinds of applications for warrant to arrest or to search, the court is authorized to choose the option that would meet the situation of emergency or a very imminent grave irreparable injury that would happen when the application for warrant were not acted on immediately.

             THE principle of necessity and urgency is similar to the application for TROs that are of urgent kinds that there is no more need even need for the raffle that the Executive Judge can act on to issue or not the TRO.  

             In this case, the Executive Judge of the RTC Pasay took time to conduct a raffle. At least, he or she tried to the fairest he or she can be under the given circumstances.

             LOOK AT THE SUPREME COURT.  It did not even call in the DOJ to be heard before deciding to issue a TRO against the Watch List Order. 

             The Arroyo lawyers must have forgotten the legal principle that says: necessity respects no law and it is the mother of invention.

             Sixth, GLORIA WAS NOT AN ORDINARY ACCUSED unlike in all other cases. 

             Her departure will cause grave irreparable injury to the State's integrity and sovereignty to try the case.  

             They already had tickets and the Supreme Court TRO in place in their favor.  This constituted a situation of a clear and present danger to justify the favor toward the overwhelming State interest. 

            When there is a clear and present danger to the State, the rights of the individuals to liberty must give way. 

             SeventhI cannot subscribed to the argument that the RTC of Pasay has no jurisdiction and that the authority to hear and decide should belong to the Sandiganbayan.

             They must have forgotten that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is for officials who have salary grade of 27 and up and that the crimes concerned were committed in the performance of official functions.

              In this case, IT IS NOT THE OFFICIAL FUNCTION OF GLORIA AS THE PRESIDENT-IN-FACT to attend to the duties and responsibilities of counting and canvassing of votes.

              Moreover, the crime of electoral sabotage was deemed to have occurred in Pasay City because the national canvassing for senators was held inside the PICC in Pasay.

              As such, it is clear that with respect to Gloria the jurisdiction of the RTC of Pasay is proper.

             But the jurisdiction with respect to Lintang Bedol is suspect. Being the provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao, it was his official function of canvassing votes from all municipalities of Maguindanao.  So that in his case, the case should be filed before the Sandiganbayan, considering that his position had a salary grade of 27 or up.

             ADVICE:  If they believe that their client is innocent of the rigging of more than 100,000 votes in Maguindanao that was found true by the Senate Electoral Tribunal in the protest case filed by Senator Koko Pimentel against Migz Zubiri, the issues will be resolved in the soonest if they now agree to start the trial.



            To read the arguments of Arroyos, please click the link below.
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