Press Release
October 21, 2008


Only Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair, and Sen. Mar Roxas, member, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be present at Thursday's public hearing on the Moscow incident of the PNP Interpol delegates.

Under the Senate Rules of Procedure, only two members are required to form a quorum for a committee hearing.

Santiago was expected to issue subpoenas duces tecum yesterday, after the arrival from abroad of Sen. Pia Cayetano, who was Senate OIC yesterday.

But last Monday, Santiago already issued invitations to the hearing, in order to comply with the Senate Rule that requires three days notice.

Cayetano will approve the subpoenas as required by Senate Rules, on authority of Sen. Manny Villar who is abroad but authorized the issuance of subpoenas duces tecum.

Last Monday, the Senate OIC, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, refused to sign the subpoenas on the ground that he is only authorized to sign "administrative matters." Enrile will be reportedly abroad by Thursday.

Apparently, no other senator will attend the hearing, either because they are abroad, out of town, or have prior engagements.

The senators who will be absent because they are abroad are: Jokey Arroyo, Lito Lapid, Rodolfo Biazon, Francis Pangilinan, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla, Jr., Richard Gordon, Manny Villar, Panfilo Lacson and Juan Ponce Enrile.

The senators who will be out of town are: Edgardo Angara, Gregorio Honasan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Francis Escudero, Allan Peter Cayetano, and Aquilino Pimentel.

The senators who have prior engagements are: Loren Legarda, Jamby Madrigal, and Benigno Aquino III.

Santiago said that in addition to the Interpol delegates and their spouses, she has issued subpoenas duces tecum to the following agencies: Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, Department of Budget and Management, Manila International Airport Authority, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Insurance Commission.

"A Senate hearing is different from a criminal trial. The Senate, unlike a trial judge, is allowed to consider media accounts both as to the criticisms and as to the defense of the public officials involved," said Santiago who was a former multi-awarded Quezon City judge.

Santiago said that she will begin the hearing by asking the proper government agencies what the laws are concerning official travel by government personnel.

"After we receive the testimonies on the existing applicable laws on official travel, if we find that there were violations, then we shall give the generals a chance to explain why the violations occurred," she said.

Santiago said that even if the funds are called "cash advance" instead of "contingency funds," the change in name does not justify the "extravagant amount" carried by the PNP comptroller to Moscow .

"The media are engaging in speculation as to the source and eventual destiny of the cash. That is the proper job of media. This is not a problem of media or of the PNP but of the generals involved," she said.

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