Binay camp: Resources to senate hearing must be informed of questions beforehand
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2015 - 6:50pm

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay on Tuesday raised anew its argument that persons invited as resources in Senate hearings must be informed beforehand of the questions to be asked.

Binay's lawyer Claro Certeza cited the petition filed before the Supreme Court by former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Romulo Neri against the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in 2008 wherein the Supreme Court recognized that resource persons are entitled to know in advance the questions that will be asked by the committee.

“In the case of Neri vs. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, et. al., G.R. No. 180643, 4 September 2008, the Supreme Court citing settled jurisprudence categorically stated that no (senate) inquiry is an end in itself; it must be related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress, i.e. legislation. Investigations conducted solely to gather incriminatory evidence and ‘punish’ those investigated are indefensible. There is no Congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure,” Certeza said.

“Thus, the Court ruled that requiring invitations or subpoenas issued by Senate committees to contain the ‘possible needed statute which prompted the need for the inquiry’ along with the ‘usual indication of the subject of inquiry and the questions relative to and in furtherance thereof’ are reasonable measures for the protection of the constitutional rights of witnesses. And, a subpoena issued by the Senate that merely commands a person to ‘testify on what he knows relative to the subject matter under inquiry’ gives the party served with the subpoena the right to demand that he be furnished in advance with the questions to be propounded to him,” he added.

Certeza said they wrote a letter addressed to the sub-committee as early as October 29 last year requesting the panel for an advance copy of the questions but the sub-committee has yet to respond to the request.

He also said that the officials of Makati city hall have no intention of defying the subpoena issued by the subcommittee. However, he believes that they cannot be faulted for not appearing in the Senate because the request to be furnished an advance copy of the questions is yet to be acted upon by the panel.

Earlier, Certeza said the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee probing alleged overprice of Makati City Hall Building 2 must first provide the list of questions to be asked before Mayor Binay attends a hearing.

Certeza said his client must first be provided the list of questions to be asked by the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee probing the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 before he attends the hearing.

Certeza said Mayor Binay has the right under law to be informed of the nature of the inquiry as well as the questions to be asked during the hearing.

“We have written earlier before the hearing, na bigyan kami ng questions,” he said.

“Kasi karapatan nya iyon under the law, na alamin kung ano yung magiging topic of the inquiry. Kung ano yung mga itatanong,” Certeza added.

ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATIONS CERTEZA CLARO CERTEZA COMMITTEE MAKATI CITY HALL BUILDING MAYOR BINAY QUESTIONS SENATE SENATE BLUE RIBBON SUB-COMMITTEE SUPREME COURT
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