'Sigma Rho alumni back SC's stand on GMA travel'

Posted at 11/17/11 9:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The alumni of the Sigma Rho fraternity are calling on law deans, professors, students and other stakeholders to back the Supreme Court’s supremacy amid the continued defiance of the government of the court's directive.

Sigma Rho Council Secretary General George Briones told abs-cbnNEWS.com that “if the executive led by President Benigno Aquino III will not order [Justice Secretary Leila de Lima] to follow the [temporary restraining order] of the Supreme Court, it will lead the country to destruction.”

The former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Quezon City chapter said he agrees with the decision of the majority of the high court allowing former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to leave the country for medical purposes.

“One, there is no criminal complaint. Two, there is no warrant of arrest versus Arroyo. Three, there is no judge who ordered them not to leave the country. An ordinary law student would know that Arroyo should be allowed to leave,” he said.

Briones also commented on fraternity brother Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio's dissenting stance on the case.

“He’s entitled to his dissent, but they are only 5. If he was with the majority, I will follow,” Briones said.

He said Carpio would nonetheless understand their position. “In fact, he’s my compadre. He’s the ninong of my son…We’re batch mates in the [Sigma Rho] fraternity. We’re both former Grand Archons,” he said.

Briones said he acknowledges the sentiment of the people against Arroyo, but the rule of law should be upheld.

He said the Department of Justice “is a political office” which pushes for a political agenda, but “that is not the IBP way. That is not the Sigma Rho way. We are not into politics."