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PIA Press Release

Gov’t wants SC to reconsider PCGG ruling

Quezon City (18 October) -- The government’s top lawyer said he will petition the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision ordering officials of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to attend Senate investigations.

“We are looking into the possibility of filing a motion for reconsideration. We are studying the [Supreme Court] decision very carefully,” Solicitor General Eduardo Nachura said.

Nachura said that according to the rules of court, the government has 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration.

He said the government will ask the high court to determine of the Senate hearings on the Philippine Communication Satellite Corp. (PHILCOMSAT) “complied with constitutional requirements, primarily if the hearing was conducted in aid of legislation.”

Nachura said senators should postpone hearings on PHILCOMSAT because the high court’s ruling is not yet final.

“I would like to ask the senators not to hold hearings yet because if they insist on the attendance of people based on the [Supreme Court] ruling… The decision is not yet final and cannot be implemented,” he said.

PCGG Commissioners said they will wait for the high court’s ruling on the motion for reconsideration before appearing in legislative inquiries.

The announcement about the filing of the petition was made after PCGG commissioners held an en banc meeting.

In a 28-page decision, the high court said PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio and his commissioners must obey the subpoena of the Senate directing them to appear and testify in public hearings.

The court said the power of the Senate to conduct hearings must be respected and that the PCGG officials could not invoke Section 4B of Executive Order No. 1, because it was repealed by the 1987 Constitution.

In an interview, Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee on government corporations and public enterprises, said that the Senate will disregard the arrest warrants issued against PCGG officials.

Gordon, however, said another set of invitations will be sent to PCGG officials. He said they will be arrested if they continue to snub the hearings.

The senator said his committee might resume the hearings on the second week of November.

The Senate ordered Sabio’s arrest for refusing to appear before a Senate inquiry on the losses incurred by the Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corp., PHILCOMSAT and Philcomsat Holdings Corp.

The high court dismissed the petition for habeas corpus for Sabio after the Senate released him and dropped the warrants for the arrest of commissioners Ricardo Abcede, Narciso Nario, Nicasio Conti and Tereso Javier; and PCGG nominees to PHILCOMSAT Manuel Andal and Julio Jalandoni. (PIA) [top]

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