Non-Appearance of Economic Team at Senate Hearing; Cabinet Officials Invoked Executive Privileges - Palace

Manila Bulletin, May 4, 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Non-Appearance of Economic Team at Senate Hearing; Cabinet Officials Invoked Executive Privileges - Palace


Byline: DAVID CAGAHASTIAN and GABRIEL S. MABUTAS

Malacanang yesterday defended the absence of top Cabinet officials from a Senate hearing last Tuesday, saying that the reasons had already been explained, and that the information needed by the Senate had in fact been provided by lower level proxies.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the government will continue to invoke executive privileges in refusing to cooperate with congressional inquiries on controversial issues, despite the Supreme Court's (SC) recent ruling to nullify certain provisions of Mrs. Arroyo's Executive Order 464 which bans the appearance of police and government officials in congressional inquiries without her consent.

Ermita said the Supreme Court's decision is "not yet final and executory," and that the Office of the Solicitor General is preparing a motion for reconsideration to appeal the court's decision.

"We are not against the Supreme Court decision but I was advised that we can still invoke EO 464 if such invitations come right now," Ermita said.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile reportedly fumed over the absence of Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Trade Secretary Peter Favila, despite a recent SC decision that affirmed the authority of Congress to compel officials to appear in congressional hearings.

Ermita said Malacanang had been allowing officials to attend congressional hearings, except those which it deems being used by the opposition to assail the administration, citing figures that showed Malacanang had allowed officials to attend 99 out of the 111 Senate hearings this year.

Malacanang had also consented to the appearance of executive officials in 259 out of 261 congressional hearings of the House of Representatives.

Among the hearings not attended by officials were those dwelling on the "Hello, Garci" controversy, the fertilizer fund scam, and the controversial contract between the Philippines and China on the Northrail Project.

Last month, the high court unanimously declared constitutionally void Sections 2(b) and 3 of EO 464, which specify the officials covered who shall seek prior consent from the President before appearing in any inquiry.

These provisions were struck down because it frustrated the Congress' ability to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation, the SC ruled. The Court, however, upheld the authority of the President to stop the appearance of Cabinet officials during the so-called "Question Hour" in Congress.

Investigations during the "Question Hour" do not relate to specific legislations but are directed merely to congressional oversight over the implementation of laws.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye renewed his appeal to the Senate to observe courtesy in its affairs with the co-equal Executive branch.

"The Palace had no information that such a hearing was scheduled but we do note that the departments and agency involved were properly represented by highly capable officials," Bunye said.

NOT YET FINAL

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez justified yesterday the non-appearance of Cabinet officials at Senate hearings as he admitted that senior Palace officials have reached an agreement of sorts against attending congressional hearings until the Supreme Court's ruling against Executive Order 464 is rendered final.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Non-Appearance of Economic Team at Senate Hearing; Cabinet Officials Invoked Executive Privileges - Palace
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?