Philippine court allows Arroyo to travel

2011-11-15 13:40
Manila - The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday gave former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo permission to leave the country, overruling her successor, who has said she might never return because of a corruption investigation.

The justices voted 8 - 5 to issue a temporary restraining order, allowing Arroyo to travel, court spokesperson Midas Marquez said.

Arroyo has said she wants to get medical treatment abroad for a bone ailment. She had petitioned the court to scrap the government's travel ban against her, saying it was a violation of her rights.

President Benigno Aquino III last week refused to lift the ban, saying Arroyo might not come back. He offered to fly in any foreign doctors she chose at the government's expense, but Arroyo refused.

Arroyo, now a member of Congress, is under investigation by the Justice Department for allegations of plunder and election sabotage during her 2001 - 2010 presidency. She has denied any wrongdoing.

The government cited her possible flight from justice because the countries she said she wanted to travel to have no extradition treaties with the Philippines. They include Austria, Spain, Singapore and Germany.

Last week, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she was checking reports that Arroyo was seeking asylum in the Dominican Republic.

However, Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Tronsoco of the Caribbean nation said over the weekend that they have not received an application for asylum from Arroyo.

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