Senate Contempt Citation Only for Legislation - Law Experts

Manila Bulletin, May 20, 2015 | Go to article overview

Senate Contempt Citation Only for Legislation - Law Experts


A law school dean and a state university professor yesterday said that while the issuance of a contempt citation and an arrest order is within the plenary powers of the Senate, it should be used only for its mandate to legislate or create laws.

"The Senate has to show first that the testimonies of those it has summoned are necessary for legislation. A bare allegation that the hearing is in aid of legislation will not suffice," said Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, in an interview with journalists covering the justice and court beats.

Those cited in contempt and ordered arrested by the Senate (referring to the so-called associates of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay) "can go to court and file a certiorari petition questioning the contempt citation.

Lawyer Harry Roque Jr., a law professor of the University of the Philippines, agreed with Fr. Aquino.

"It's part of plenary powers of Congress. However, the power to investigate was clarified to be for legislative purposes only per ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in Neri vs Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. It should not be used for partisan purposes," Roque told justice reporters.

LEGAL REMEDY

Thus, he said, the so-called associates of Vice President Binay could also elevate the contempt citation and the arrest order before the SC just as former Socio-Economic Secretary Romulo Neri did. …

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