MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will argue before the Supreme Court the need to summon the doctors of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to testify.
Before the resumption of the oral arguments on the travel ban against Arroyo, De Lima told reporters she will ask the justices to act on the motion of Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz to subpoena Arroyo’s doctors.
“We know that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts but we believe it has enough plenary powers, judicial powers to resort to that course of action if that is necessary to ferret out the truth,” said De Lima. “It becomes a material and relevant issue and in fact, a very important issue in these proceedings.”
De Lima noted that during the last oral arguments held Tuesday, Arroyo’s lawyers invoked her right to life to argue against the travel ban. She said invoking that right presumes that Arroyo’s illness is life-threatening.
“Who can tell us best about that? Her own doctors because we don’t have our own doctors who actually examined her. I had [Health] Sec. [Enrique] Ona to help me understand the meaning of their medical abstracts and the conclusion is it’s not life-threatening.”
De Lima also said she supported the move of the Commission on Election’s lawyers to ask the Pasay Regional Trial Court to also summon Arroyo’s doctors. She said the doctors will be able to say if there are justifications to permanently put Arroyo under hospital arrest.
“Arroyo can go to Universal Studios”
Arroyo’s lawyer Raul Lambino said he does not know if the doctors will appear before the Supreme Court despite Cadiz’s motion.
Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, meanwhile said summoning Arroyo’s doctors will only lengthen the legal proceedings.
“Ang aking paninindigan diyan, hindi namin kailangan patunayan [na life-threatening ang sakit ni Mrs. Arroyo] because there is a right to travel. Kahit na ang gusto lamang ng isang tao ay pumunta sa Universal Studios at sumakay sa mga rides doon, right pa rin niya iyon.”(My stand is that we do not need to prove her illness is life-threatening because there is a right to travel. If a person wants to go to Universal Studios and enjoy the rides there, that is still his/her right.)
Topacio added, “You do not have to be ill to travel.”