Press Release
August 9, 2010

Senate to amend Rules on Inquiries

Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III today declared that the Senate will continue to adopt the existing rules of procedure on Congressional inquiries but will amend Section 24 to cover its effectivity that will take effect seven days after publication in two general circulation newspapers.

According to Sotto, the Senate will amend its Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation after a 2008 Supreme Court decision found it in violation of Section 21 Article VI of the Constitution for not publishing the Rules which made the subject hearings in aid of legislation conducted by the 14th Congress "procedurally infirm."

"The decision to adopt the existing Rules of Procedure came out after the Senate was cited on a technicality on the Neri vs. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, and Senate Committee on National Defense and Security case wherein the Supreme Court voted 9-6 sustaining Neri's contention that his conversations with former President Arroyo on the National Broadband Network (NBN) project were covered by executive privilege," explained Sotto.

"To avoid being cited on a technicality in the future, we will publish the rules and procedures in the soonest possible time," Sotto said, adding "the Rules are basically the same with the Rules used in the 11th to the 14th Congress, the only difference is Section 24 which states that these Rules shall take effect after seven days following the publication in two newspapers in general circulation and shall remain in force until amended or repealed."

"These provisions will do away with the need of the Senate to republish Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation," Sotto said. Also present during the committee hearing were Rules Committee members and Senators Franklin M. Drilon, Gregorio Honasan B. II, Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Aside from the effectivity of the Rules, the committee hearing also touched on the procedure regarding the filing and chairmanships of the bills. The present ruling states that whoever files the bill first gets the principal authorship which would be overturned once the new Rule of letting the sponsor Committees decide on who would get principal authorship based on merit.

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