By Raïssa Robles
Shortly after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was arraigned at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan came news that the Supreme Court Third Division had issued an order stopping her arraignment and arrest, along with her co-accused. It read:
“The court issues a TRO (temporary restraining order), as prayed for, enjoining the Sandiganbayan from implementing its assailed resolution dated October 3, 2012 which directed the issuance of warrant of arrest against petitioner, among others.”
But that is just from news reports. Nothing to this hour (2:17 PM of Oct. 29, 2012) has been posted on the Supreme Court website about it.
A report filed by Ira Pedrasa for ABS-CBN sheds a bit more light on what had taken place. It seems the Sandiganbayan had received the Supreme Court order earlier but interpreted it as only covering one co-accused – former state auditor Nilda B. Plaras.
And so Sandiganbayan went ahead with Arroyo’s arraignment.
Here is Ira’s news story on the matter.
It was not the entire Supreme Court but the Third Division that issued the TRO. The Third Division is now headed by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, with the following as members: Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Roberto A. Abad and Jose Catral Mendoza. It was these four justices who had issued a TRO.
But there’s something odd about this TRO. Why did the justices not meet the issue head-on by simply addressing the petition itself of GMA in their court resolution? Why did they choose to answer Plaras instead of GMA’s urgent petition which she filed last week? You can read about her petition here.
Can the Supreme Court now undo what Sandiganbayan has just done?
Of course it can.
But at what political cost for the Supreme Court?