Press Release
April 20, 2006


The SC decision upholds the correctness of the Senate's position on the illegality of EO 464. The upholding by the SC of Sec 1 & 2a of EO 464 is not an issue considering that these sections are mere reiterations of a provision of the Constitution on the question here and of SC rulings on Executive privilege. What was at issue was the power of the legislature to compel cabinet secretaries and other members of the Executive branch to appear in hearings in aid of legislation under Sec. 21 Art.6 of the Constitution.

In addition, as pointed out by the SC, Sec.1 of E.O. 464 refers to the question hour which is rarely resorted to in the Senate. Thus its being held as Constitutional for us in the Senate is really a non-issue. In fact, in all of the sessions of the 12th Congress, we invited a cabinet official for the question hour only once. What we do undertake on a regular basis are inquiries in aid of legislation and it is this power to inquire and to compel the attendance of government officials including cabinet officials which EO 464 sought to frustrate and the SC found to be unconstitutional.

The SC in declaring Sec 2b and Sec 3 as unconstitutional reaffirmed the power of the Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation and more importantly to compel members of the Cabinet and other government officials to attend Congressional hearings. It affirms our confidence in our judicial system. It is proof that Malacanang acted beyond the confines of the Constitution and must be made to account for its illegal act. It reiterates the principle that governmental power vested in the Executive is open to error, to abuse and to excess and as such there is a need for the Legislative branch to act as a check and balance on the Executive.

This decision validates the Senate's position that as an institution we have a Constitutional duty to act as a check on a wayward Executive branch.

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