Philippines bans ex-president Arroyo from travel

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 18:34

Manila: The Philippine government on Tuesday
rejected an appeal from former president Gloria Arroyo to
travel abroad for medical treatment, saying she may be trying
to avoid a graft probe.

Arroyo, 64, had asked the government to allow her to head
overseas for expert help on what she said was a rare bone
disease, after unsuccessful operations on her spine in Manila
this year.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Arroyo could be
adequately treated in the Philippines and that there were
concerns she might not return if she was eventually charged
with graft.

"We see no immediate necessity for her to leave and
therefore affect the progress of ongoing preliminary
(corruption) investigation proceedings," de Lima told

Arroyo`s lawyer, Raul Lambino said in an interview with
DZMM radio that de Lima`s decision "is purely tyrannical".

Arroyo had requested to go to Singapore, Germany and
several other countries to seek medical treatment.

De Lima said she was suspicious that many of the countries
Arroyo wanted to visit had no extradition treaty with the
"I can`t avoid being concerned that five of these
countries have no existing extradition treaties with us, and
there lies the risk, something I can`t afford to take," she

Arroyo, who was president from 2001 to 2010, has been
accused of massive corruption and of rigging the 2004 election
to ensure a narrow victory over actor-turned-politician
Fernando Poe.

She was required by constitutional term limits to stand
down last year, but nevertheless retained political influence
by running for, and winning, a seat in the House of

Arroyo`s successor as president Benigno Aquino, has
launched multiple investigations into her alleged misdeeds and
told reporters last month she would soon be charged with

Before today`s ruling, Arroyo was on a travel "watch
list", meaning she had to ask permission before travelling


First Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 18:34

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