As of this time, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her first Gentleman Miguel Arroyo had already filed separately their petitions before the Supreme Court to declare the DOJ watch list as unconstitutional and for the Aquino government to let them leave the country. It was also reported that Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima denied GMA’s request to seek medical treatment abroad.
The lines were thus drawn between the president and the former president and all negotiations are off–at least for the moment. One may then expect the cases against the Arroyo couple to be filed immediately and warrants of arrest issued thereafter even as the Aquino government argues against the petition.
It is an irony that the DOJ watch list order was crafted by the Arroyo administration itself in trying to get around the legal requirement of a court order. The latter is required by the older hold-departure order.
What we are seeing now is the denouement (and probable failure) of the rearguard or transition strategy of the former president and her people to preserve themselves, their ill-gotten wealth, and their political future from the onslaught of the victorious and erstwhile opposition.
However, this is only the plan A. The Arroyo group has been known to have a whole series of plans and options that they can rely on to achieve their objectives. They have survived a whole series of challenges before and they expect to hurdle them today.
The options are limited if they chose to fight it out. Going it alone seems to be a sure way to defeat given the melting of the political alliances they carved out in their heyday. Most of her allies simply deserted the sinking Arroyo ship and came over (wormed into) the new Aquino government. Alliance with possible 2016 presidential contenders is not exactly feasible at this time–it will take too long to bear fruit and, in the meantime, no one wants to publicly stand out like a sore thumb for GMA against an Aquino government that has consolidated the power.
The most likely scenario is one that will have the Arroyos fled their Philippine cases to wait out the Aquino administration until 2016 and try a comeback, like what the Marcoses are doing now. The other scenario, akin to Erap Estrada’s decision to fight it out in the courts, may not be that palatable for the Arroyos. In a political bind as it is, and still unpopular, the Arroyos will only have a slim chance of public political support during the trial in various cases the Aquino government will file against them.
To go or not to go. Exile or detention. I do not think the Arroyos have a choice.