Press Release
March 6, 2008


"I ask my colleagues to reassess their decision. Is it more important to assert the Senate's power of arrest than working out with the Supreme Court the intricate issues surrounding Executive Privilege?

"I also have strong feelings about the need to uphold the Senate's institutional independence and autonomy, especially at this time when it remains as one of the last bastions of accountability. But these are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary solutions that may demand flexibility and inter-branch consensus.

"It is rare for the Supreme Court to propose such a compromise to help both itself and the Senate to resolve a dilemma, sharpen the issues and lead the people to a proper understanding of the legal and political landscape. Unlike the executive branch, it is apparent that the SC acted on good faith in offering this compromise.

"We must work together with the Supreme Court to remove all obstacles to arrive at the truth soonest and enforce public accountability with an administration that is already reeling from high levels of mistrust from our citizenry.

"Let us not summarily reject a legitimate compromise with the High Court that would ultimately cast light on the intricate issue of Executive Privilege, especially as it impinges upon the commission of a crime, covering up a crime, or the imperatives of national security and high diplomacy.

"Our most immediate objective is to have former NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri testify in the Senate and strengthen the thread of stories already credibly told by Jun Lozada. This is logically the next chapter in the Senate probe and should not be delayed at the risk of more public disillusionment.

"Yes, we are not assured that Neri, this time around, will tell the whole truth. However, we leave it to his conscience to block the truth through executive privilege. Justices of the SC have clearly stated that this presidential privilege cannot be used to cover-up a crime.

"The ZTE-NBN debacle has opened a learning process for Philippine democracy and let us grasp every opportunity to make the system work. Because if we do not, the result is a nation in a state of paralysis, with three branches of government preoccupied with the multi-million dollar ZTE scandal."

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