I must weigh in on the Arroyo flight plan, as everyone else has. It's top drama.
Did the Aquino Administration rush the arrest?
My readout is no, but I would also say that being rushed is preferable to being played for fools.
It was Ms. Arroyo who forced the Administration to act. She did not need to do that. She could have been respectful of the Travel Restraint Order. Respectful of the Administration's offer to fly doctors of her choice to the Philippines. She fails as victim, in my book, because she was the one who initiated the "play". She was responsible for the confrontation.
The Aquino Administration has been slowly and methodically building its understanding of the election rigging. Like any law case, there are risks and judgments made. Do you accept the Ampatuan testimony or seek other witnesses who can confirm the election tampering? When are you absolutely assured you will win if you make the charge?
The Administration was clearly not rushing until forced to make a decision. Do we have enough to charge her? So I don't see the operative word being "rush", but "risk". If we charge her, will we win?
Ms. Arroyo may have forced them to accept a higher risk. But "rush" is not applicable. They have a lot of testimony and evidence. Gathering it wasn't rushed.
Beyond the case evidence, we observe our chief suspect sneaking around and behaving oddly.
The fish in Denmark was stinking to high heaven on this medical flight, and the airport showdown was downright weird, surreal, rather like her chasing President Obama around like a diplomatic stalker.
As I understand it, the Lady and her Gentleman had purchased tickets to six separate destinations before the Supreme Court ruled on setting aside the Travel Restraint Order, permitting her to fly. When the ruling came down, they were immediately off to the airport. By what stroke of efficient scheduling did this occur, and who were the medical appointments with, in the six different locations?
Names and places and procedures, please.
If I read "The People" correctly, most think Ms. Arroyo is playing everyone for fools, and has been since her long-ago midnight raid on the Constitution, followed by a midnight appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court just prior to President Aquino's assumption of office .
Now it is hard in my book for someone sponsoring such irregular activities (and I won't even bring up the bags of cash she once joyfully handed out to legislators) to claim irregularity of process by Mr. Aquino. What kind of bankrupt, two-faced morality is this?
Oh, yes. I should read my own writing about the notorious Filipino Ego and self-dealing, and the trade of favors, and the kinds of deceits undertaken to save face or promote one's own interest.
In this inside-out culture, many hold that President Aquino is wrong for taking steps to do what is right.
Well, it will all play out as it will play out, and I think Ms. Arroyo will sweat a lot and curse a lot, and not too many people will care.
As for Justice Secretary Leila De Lima possibly being charged with contempt of court, I rather think she would become a martyr if that were done, a symbol of the political games undertaken by a court that has made a mockery of its job to be dispassionate interpreters of the law. Besides, I understand Secretary De Lima has technical grounds to argue that the Court's annulment of the TRO did not ever become effective because all conditions were not met. The Arroyos were in too much of a hurry to attend to the requirements.
My main points are:
- I would not give Ms. Arroyo a free pass to claim no responsibility for what has transpired. She is the one pushing the buttons. As she always has.
- It isn't a matter of Justice Secretary De Lima rushing the charge. It is a matter of assessing risk; are we ready now?