Amal Clooney’s new case – Arroyo v. Philippines


Amal  Clooney has brought to the United Nations Human Rights Council the plight of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Larry Gadon, a family friend and legal counsel to the Arroyos, said he and lawyer Modesto Ticman, Jr. supplied Alamuddin-Clooney with all the details of the case and held a teleconference with her on the matter. But he said the complaint, which was filed through the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, was prepared and written by Alamuddin-Clooney herself.
Amal Clooney said the government of the Philippines has violated several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
She wants the UN to intervene in the immediate release of Arroyo, who is detained under charges of plunder over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.
At the very least, the international law expert said Arroyo must be given temporary release to be able to get medical treatment abroad.

Arroyo is under hospital arrest for a bone mineral disorder.

Amal Clooney cited Articles 9, 14, 19 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
She also wants a full investigation of the circumstances in which criminal proceedings were brought against Arroyo, as well as the circumstances behind her detention. Based on the results, appropriate measures should be slapped against those responsible for the violation of the former president’s rights, she said.
She is also seeking a public apology for the violations of Arroyo’s rights, adding that full and adequate compensation should also be accorded to the former president.
She also wants Arroyo to have unrestricted access to different means of communications such as a mobile phone, Internet, and laptop computer and that  the Philippines to reform its laws on “non-bailable” offenses.

Amal Clooney is assisted in this case by barrister Katherine O’Byrne

“Assisting Amal Clooney, representing former President of the Philippines Gloria Arroyo, held in pre-conviction detention on electoral fraud charges for two years, in relation to her rights under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights”.


In 2011, President Benigno Aquino III’s government stopped former resident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo from boarding a Hong Kong-bound plane and leaving the country Tuesday night, despite a Supreme Court order allowing her to seek medical treatment abroad.

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Amal Clooney visited last year Manila following a speaking engagement in Singapore and was apprised of the case of the former leader (pictures above).

Amal Clooney’s mother, Al-Hayat foreign editor Baria Alamuddin, is Pedrosa’s long-time friend whom she met in London where the columnist lived when she was in exile.

“By the time she (Alamuddin) was on her way to London she committed to help former President Arroyo by advising her on her rights under international law,” Pedrosa said.

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35 thoughts on “Amal Clooney’s new case – Arroyo v. Philippines

  1. Carmen Pedrosa, the Filippino journalist, is a very good friend of Baria’s. She even attended Amal’s post wedding reception in England. She has written in her column about how she delivered the documents from Arroyo’s lawyers to Amal by delivering them to Baria at the hotel where they all stayed for the reception. Just search ‘Pedrosa clooney ‘🙂


    • Nice work, Daisy! Great attention to detail! Thank You!🙂 Amal should feel quite good about being paired up with Katherine O’Byrne! She is quite accomplished and then some! Her professional profile is quite extensive, including honors, and far more experienced and accomplished than Amal. Not to mention, all the books and publications she has written & authored! WoW!🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. I posted these before, so I’m not posting them again, but just search “Human Rights Watch” or “Amnesty International” and Arroyo and see what comes up. The political journal “Foreign Policy in Focus” also has an article that mentions Arroyo, stating “President Aquino’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had a policy of eliminating all forms of opposition.” Apparently, Arroyo oversaw the military when they were conducting many extrajudicial killings in the Philippines – she even promoted one of the worst human rights offenders, General Jovito Palparan.


  2. I keep coming across this issue. My smarter brain says let it go. My other brain says, “Oh go ahead! Say something”. Warning. I am going to sound somewhat preachy. Defending human rights means defending the fundamental human rights of all people. I am confident this is the position of both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The nature of fundamental human rights, which include protection from arbitrary detention, security of the person and so on) is such that it is crucial that this protection be afforded to all humans – regardless of our opinion of their character or worth. This would include those responsible for the most heinous crimes. Central to the issue is that it is impossible to have a world where human rights are protected at all if we allow human beings to distinguish between those who are worthy of protection and those who we judge are not worthy of this protection. You can easily see the slippery slope here. The only possible answer is that some rights are so important and so fundamental to human decency and civilization that we cannot, and call ourselves a just society, deprive any human being of these rights. Going back to the first point though, the most important issue is that it is far too dangerous, and dangerous for all of us, to let anyone decide which human beings are not worthy of protection. This leads to a very dark place indeed – and there are far to many places in the world already where this is the reality.

    Taking on these cases is about the most challenging work a lawyer can do. You can see the same thing happen in criminal law. Where there is a particularly horrific crime, this is the case where, if our criminal justice system is to maintain its integrity, the very best and brightest of criminal lawyers should be stepping forward. It is the extraordinary power of the state against the life and liberty of one individual. The scales must be balanced. The same reasoning applies in human rights law.

    It is really hard to do this hugely important work. I have nothing but admiration for the courage and committment that this takes. We are all safer because there are individuals who believe passionately in these principles and are prepared to devote their lives to upholding them.

    Ok. Rant over. Just another viewpoint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you for your comment “ballcroy”. i agree with what you said. i just wonder if there are limits to these human rights each and every human being has. For example, i know that prisoners have the right to seek medical help when they get sick. however, is their “human rights” fulfilled when they get the help that is available, but not necessarily the best, as in Arroyo’s case. I think there is more to Arroyo’s case, but that is just a thought. what are the limitations to these “human rights” and how can someone determine if they are being violated or not?


      • I don’t believe there can be any one answer to this. It depends on the facts. If the help that is available is not going to actually meet your medical needs, or for example where the conditions of custody are such that your health is compromised in such a way that your life may be at risk or you may be at risk for long term health impacts that may effect you for the rest of your life…I don’t know all the facts behind this case. I frankly don’t think any of us do. I am aware that there are at least two issues – one being access to medical treatment and the other being the denial of bail in circumstances where others similarly situated have been granted bail. The first issue is broadly characterized as security of the person and the second is the right not to be subject to arbitrary detention. (This is really broad strokes in terms of describing the issues – and I believe there may well be other issues.)

        Those responsible for circumscribing these rights cannot be the ones deciding where a fundamental right has been infringed. This has to be the courts or other body with oversight responsibility (in whatever jurisdiction is available). And of course it can’t be the court of public opinion:-)

        The limit is not one that we can decide. That is why these cases must be challenged. Because when they are not – then state actors, governments, feel free to act with impunity. And that is a tragedy that affects us all.

        If you look at cases where there have very clearly been violations of fundamental rights the importance of this issue comes into sharp focus. For me it does anyway. Where a man is denied access to medical treatment and as a result his cancer is not treated and ultimately his disease is beyond treatment. The courts release the man and days later he dies a free man. (This example ought, one would think, to have been an easy one to figure out. Reasonable people should have been able to agree on this. But that did not happen) Prisoners all over the world are subject to torture in custody and to arbitrary detention. The Fahmy case being one example of arbitrary detention.

        This is not to say at all that there are not other human rights issues that are of critical importance. The right of children to access to education, the right to be housed and to be able to feed yourself and your family. The right to medical treatment in parts of the world were access to medical treatment is very limited …I am thinking here about the impact of Ebola on West Africa. The inequities in our world I believe have created significant human rights issues across the globe. And they are extremely important. But they are not this legal issue. In many cases they are not legal issues at all – they are political issues.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! you actually answered everything I was thinking about in my mind!!! I was wondering about the legal aspect of human rights vs. the social and political aspect and you actually gave me a clear answer in regard to medical needs too. thank you so much for writing such an articulate and educational comment and in a very thoughtful and respectful manner too (something very rare these days). i learned a lot from following Fahmy’s case and I’m looking forward to learning about Arroyo’s case if it became public. It’s funny how i first came to this site interested in fashion and gossip, then I ended up wondering about human rights issues and international cases! I guess this is what happens when you follow someone like Amal🙂


      • Hi Clara – well thank you for reading the whole thing:-) You might guess I talk a lot in my real life. This is how I got hooked. I read about who she was and what she did. And went Wow! And then the clothes. For me it started with those beautiful Italian shoes – one pink and one purple. Smart, interesting, beautiful and unique fashion sense. All of which shines a bright light on important issues that are often ignored. It’s all good:-)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW! Katherine O’Byrne has quite the resume profile!!! She has written several books and articles; publications. Many awards and honors of recognition! Quite a representation under her belt, as well! No offense to Amal…but WoW is Kate far more accomplished! Amal should feel quite good about being paired up with Katherine O’Byrne!🙂


  4. Ballycroy,

    Thank you for leaving your though felt, and articulate comment.
    I think this blog IS an arena that you can leave another view point for consideration.
    I am pleased you chose to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Who is representing the poor Phillipono people that live in slums? Isn’t THAT about human rights?
    Of the most down trodden?
    These beautiful people need a pro bono voice….
    Just a thought!


    • Yes, totally agree with you, Lu. She doesn’t look like the attorney she used to be. She is now on “a stage” with George, and so now she looks more glamorous and celebrity-like. Glamorous hair, flawless make-up, haute couture $$$$ clothing, run way looks, and high end designer bags and shoes. She is fully aware the second she steps out the door in the public eye that she will be photographed. Therefore, might as well look your very best.🙂


  6. The recent post and picture of Amal wearing Giambattista Valli, the white sleeveless dress with embroidered floral accents, is gorgeous. It’s fresh, delicate, and so tasteful! I like the theme she continues to follow with the flowers: (hand bag, dress(es), etc.) She keeps revisiting this look and I’m liking it.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello I like the debates that are being developed around here lately. Returning to banality … haha I think Amal has not changed much That picture is distorted and bag looks like one that used until recently was in London. regards


  8. Sorry Nati (my translator is not very good). I refer to the photo above .Parece that passing video to the TV, change the format is deformed and Amal goes wider .And in that same picture comes with a black and white Alice + Olivia bag that I think she has used above, does not look much like I am wrong Thanks for your work


  9. Does anyone know when the spring term starts at Columbia? Apparently the courses Amal will be involved in are on Mondays and Wednesdays. Maybe we can get some new photos then. She has been very discreet lately. Props to her for that but I guess she has to prepare her lectures.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I initially have an admiration during the time Amal Clooney was introduce in the showbiz world. She seems to be someone a guy like George Clooney will get interested into. She has good records in fighting human rights. But she is also human, she can also commit mistakes. That is why, I hope that she reviews and also do some more research of the things Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did to us, her countrymen.

    There are many abuses that she did during her term, corruption, plunder, vote buying, and other things. She was connected and allegedly the one who support the formation of private armies, she backs up and support the Ampatuan Clan which are responsible to the massacre of many journalist and innocent people in Nov 2009. There are more pending cases filed against her but these plunder case was the one that got the Filipino people get to see her arrested.

    To know that those people who approach her are GMA legal counsel, it definitely will show to her records that will favor GMA.

    In as much as I would like to think that she is a level headed individual and truly intelligent, but it seems that she only get to look into on the other side of the story. She should consider the whole meaning and definition of human rights.


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