Leonel Fernandez and the Philippine scandal(UPDATE)

DOJ verifying Arroyo asylum plan in Dominican Republic

 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is verifying information that former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has sought political asylum in the Dominican Republic.

Justice chief Leila de Lima said she will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to check whether the Caribbean country, which has no extradition treaty with the Philippines, has already given the former President a passport.

“I would not know where that information is coming from, na parang bibigyan ng asylum status. That is yet for verification. Definitely, we are verifying all these information," she told reporters Thursday.

Promptly however, Elena Bautista-Horn, Mrs. Arroyo’s spokesperson, denied that the former President sought political asylum in the Dominican Republic. Bautista-Horn added their camp never identified the foreign country as one of their destinations in their plea to travel abroad to seek medical help for Mrs. Arroyo.

"Saan naman nanggaling iyan? Wala sa itinerary namin ‘yan, and we are all still Filipinos. We have not switched nationalities," she said in a text message to GMA News' Lia Mañalac.

De Lima, who earlier refused to issue an allow departure order for Mrs. Arroyo, said the DOJ could not ignore such information, which she said is becoming the basis for doubt on the true agenda for the former President’s travel request.

“What if tama yung hinala namin and this [Arroyo’s medical condition] is just a spectacle really to have a shield for their actual intention na takasan ang mga kasong ito? They can do anything, para to give it a legal cover," she said.

Last May, Mrs. Arroyo was honored by Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez with the principal Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella, supposedly for her "high merits" in establishing bonds of friendship between the Philippines and Latin America.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that a person has the right to seek asylum in another country if his or her own country is persecuting him based on political or religious beliefs.

Watch list

Mrs. Arroyo is currently on the Immigration watch list in connection with electoral fraud and plunder cases filed against her over the past months.

An individual placed on the Immigration watch list must first ask the DOJ to lift the order before he or she can travel abroad. The person must also present the government-issued clearance before leaving the country.

It is less restrictive than a hold departure order, which automatically bars an individual from leaving the country.

On Tuesday, the former President challenged before the Supreme Court the Immigration watch list order issued against her by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who earlier refused to issue an allow departure order for Mrs. Arroyo.

After De Lima announced her decision barring Mrs. Arroyo from going abroad, President Benigno Aquino III himself offered bringing in foreign specialists whose fees will be shouldered by the government to check on his predecessor — an offer the former President’s camp refused.

Mrs. Arroyo’s camp has repeatedly said that the former Philippine leader has no plans of fleeing from the charges filed against her, and that her plan to travel abroad is for the purpose of finding doctors to treat her bone mineral disorder and hypoparathyroidism. Andreo Calonzo/RSJ/KBK/HS, GMA News

 

Related story:

The Dominican Republic, located in the Caribbean and with an estimated population of almost 10 million, became a party of the United Nations’ Refugee Convention and Protocol in 1978 and has since passed implementing legislation on the treaty.

The 1951 Refugee Convention defines who is a refugee and the legal protection that he or she should receive.

A 2003 survey report of the US Committee for Refugees states that under the law of the Dominican Republic, those who wish to seek asylum in the Caribbean country should submit their applications to its National Office for Refugees (NOR) within the Directorate of Migration.

The NOR will then review the cases and submit them to the National Commission for Refugees (NCR), the agency in charge of adjudicating claims.

The NCR’s decision is conveyed to both the applicant and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Last May, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo traveled to the Dominican Republic where she was honored with the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella in the Grade of Grand Cross Gold Plaque, for helping strengthen ties between the Philippines and Latin America.

The award was contained in Decree 278-11 issued by Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, according to a release posted in that country’s website.

The ceremony was held at the Hall of Ambassadors of the National Palace.

Previous reports state that Ecuador’s former President, Gustavo Noboa, is among those who have sought asylum in the Dominican Republic.

Citing persecution in his home country, Noboa sought asylum after being investigated over alleged financial anomalies during his term in office.

As of January, there are 1,759 persons who have pending applications for asylum or refugee status in the Dominican Republic, data from the UNHCR showed. Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

 

Updated!

The Dominican Republic has denied that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has sought asylum in that country. But Justice Secretary Leila De Lima insists she would still look into a report that the Dominican Republic’s ambassador to Asian countries, Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, came to Manila and visited the former President.

My gulay, De Lima even wants the Department of Foreign Affairs to investigate the matter! She says a foreign ambassador coming to Manila should inform the DFA the purpose of his visit.

De Lima is in effect saying that the foreign minister of the Dominican Republic is a liar. She is creating an international problem.

 

 

Dominican Watchdog Note: This would not be the first corrupt or fraudelent president Leonel is hiding in his campo.... read, Ex Honduran Presidents exile in Casa de Campo

 

Visit the MEMORIAL WALL for tourists killed in Dominican Republic during the last 3 years Leonel has been in power!

Go back | Date: 16 Nov 2011
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