The following is the sequence of events in a tension-packed day climaxed by what had been largely unthinkable until Friday: The arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her hospital bed at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City:
11:30 a.m.—After an en banc meeting, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) files electoral sabotage charges against Arroyo, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Election Supervisor Lintang Bedol in the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 under Judge Jesus Mupas.
1p.m.—Supreme Court spokesperson Midas Marquez announces that the high court has denied a motion for reconsideration filed by the Solicitor General seeking the lifting of the temporary restraining order issued by the court against the justice department’s move placing Arroyo on a watch list. The TRO would have allowed Arroyo to leave the country for medical treatment abroad.
Marquez says the TRO remains in full force and effect. The court also orders Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to show cause within 10 days why she should not be held in contempt for not implementing the TRO.
The court also denied the petition of Arroyo lawyer Estelito Mendoza to hold the oral arguments scheduled on Nov. 22 earlier.
2:30 p.m.—The Department of Justice files an urgent motion asking the Supreme Court to lift the TRO. The DOJ cites the filing of the electoral sabotage case against the former President to support its motion.
3:15 p.m.—Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says the government believes the TRO is not yet executory because certain conditions have not been met and thus there was no manifestation of compliance.
4:30 p.m.—The Pasay City Regional Trial Court issues an arrest warrant against Arroyo, Bedol and Ampatuan Sr.
‘Moot and academic’
4:35 p.m.—De Lima during a Palace briefing says the Supreme Court’s TRO is now “moot and academic” in the wake of the arrest warrant issued by the Pasay RTC. De Lima calls it “the real triumph of justice.”
4:40 p.m.—Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Angel Honrado says Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, have canceled their scheduled 5:45 p.m. flight for Singapore on Singapore Airlines though they had earlier checked in their luggage via the Net.
4:40 p.m.—Marquez says the TRO still stands but the former President is now barred from leaving because of the warrant of arrest issued by the Pasay RTC.
5:15 p.m.—Arroyo camp files urgent motion to block arrest warrant.
6:30 p.m.—In a radio interview, former President Joseph Estrada, who was jailed on plunder charges during the rule of Arroyo, denies the Arroyo camp’s charges that the Philippines is now under martial law. Estrada says: “This is far from martial law. What they did to me (in 2001)—that’s martial law. I was treated like a criminal. The public has been waiting for justice for a long time now. I forgave her a long time ago, but I don’t know if the public forgave her.”
Senior Supt. James Bucayu, officer in charge of the Southern Police District, announces at a press conference at St. Luke’s that the police have served the arrest warrant on Arroyo. He says Arroyo had just awoken from a “nice” nap and was lying on her bed when the arrest order was read to her. She does not say anything but merely nods.
Police say they will not remove Arroyo from the hospital because of her physical condition. They will book her Saturday, meaning take mug shots and fingerprints.
Police say the arrest warrant had also been served on Ampatuan Sr. and Bedol.
WATCH VIDEO BELOW: