FR. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, yesterday said President Arroyo’s signing of Executive Order No. 464 is an apparent attempt to prevent the truth from coming out.
Calling Arroyo’s order a "gag rule," Bernas said the EO would only succeed at obstructing the role of the legislature, effectively upsetting the check-and-balance among co-equal branches of government.
"She is refusing to reveal things, but what she is covering I don’t know. She’s scared," he said in an interview with reporters at the sidelines of a forum held at the De La Salle University.
Ducky Paredes has more on E.O. 464.
This too from Malaya:
Malacañang claims Executive Order 464, with its kilometric title "Ensuring Observance of the Principle of Separation of Powers, Adherence to the Rule of Executive Privilege and Respect for the Rights of Public Officials Appearing in Legislative Inquiries in Aid of Legislation under the Constitution, and for Other Purposes," is just a reiteration of Memorandum Order 112 issued by President Corazon Aquino on Sept. 29, 1987.
This is a barefaced lie. The title of MO 112, "Adopting Guidelines on Appearances of Cabinet Members before Congress," says it all.
MO 112 opens with the Article VI, Section 22 of the Constitution which provides:
"The heads of the departments may upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellation should not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires, and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session."
MO 112 then went on to cite the rules of the House and of the Senate.
It then laid down the guidelines on the appearance of Cabinet members whether on their initiative or on that of either chamber of Congress. In either case, consent of the President is required.
What about EO 464? The coverage of persons who need presidential consent to appear before Congress, for one, is expanded to include all heads of and senior officials of departments, generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces and police officials with the ranks of chief superintendent and up, and national security officials.
Under MO 112, when presidential permission has been granted for a department head’s appearance, there is no restriction on what the Cabinet member may talk about save when the security of the State and public interest so requires as the President so states in writing (a reiteration of the Constitutional provision). When the exception is invoked, the appearance must be made in executive session.
In the case of EO 464, it bars outright public officials from disclosing "classified and confidential information" such as:
* Conversations and correspondents between the President and the officials so listed.
* Military, diplomatic and other security matters which in the interest of national security must not be divulged.
* Information between inter-government agencies prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements.
* Discussions in closed-door Cabinet meetings.
* Matters affecting national security and public order.
There is, in short, a world of difference between MO 112 and EO 464.
It is the difference between an honest and open Cory and a lying and deceitful Gloria.
- This is disgusting:
Taxpayers paying for ritzy ways of Gloria envoys.
Friday, 09 30, 2005
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is splurging taxpayers' money on diplomats assigned in six countries at a time the Philippines is suffering from a financial crunch.
The government is spending almost P50 million a year for what Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla yesterday called as Malacañang's apparently preferential treatment of seven Filipino diplomats posted in the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and South Korea.
Remulla, during a budget hearing yesterday, hit at the DFA for spending too much money for housing the diplomats, specifically the case of Philippine consul general to the United States Cecille Rebong.
Rebong is residing at the posh Trump Towers in New York City, which is just across the United Nations, and Manila is spending $10,000 or almost P600,000 a month for that luxurious address
Kinuwestyon ng ilang kongresista ang natuklasang magagarbong tirahan ng mga diplomats ng Pilipinas sa iba't ibang bansa na kung saan ay hindi bumababa sa kalahating milyong piso ang upa ng mga ito kada buwan.
Natuklasan ito sa isinagawang budget hearing sa Kamara kaugnay sa 2006 proposed budget ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Lumilitaw na umaabot sa $10,000 o katumbas ng P588,000 ang upa sa tirahan ng consul general sa Los Angeles, California buwan-buwan; $11,000 o katumbas ng P616,000 sa Berlin, Germany at Paris, France habang $10,000 o P560,000 sa Rome, Italy at Vienna, Austria.
Magugunitang nauna na ring kinuwestyon ng Kamara ang Philippine Consul General sa New York na si Cecille Rebong na nakatira sa Trump Tower na may buwanang upa na $10,000 (P560,000).
- Northrail Contract a sellout of RP to China
More: UP finds Northrail deal illegal
THE University of the Philippines Law Center yesterday said the P503 million North Railways contract with China is "flawed and illegal".
Prof. Merlin Magalona and lawyer Harry Roque said the contract to rehabilitate 32 kilometers of railways from Caloocan City to Malolos, Bulacan, by the China National Machinery and Equipment Corp. (CNMEC) runs against the provisions of the Constitution.
The study was presented to senators during yesterday’s hearing at the Senate convening as a committee of the whole.
Rene Santiago, a technical expert of the center, said the contract was void and illegal since it was awarded to the CNMEC without public bidding.
Santiago said the project was not supported by a bill of quantities, which refers to the statement of work, material, labor, and specifications of the rolling stock.
Under an agreement signed in December 2003, China’s Export-Import Bank would bankroll the project with a $400 million loan and the Philippine government would put up a counterpart fund of $103 million.
At lumabas na naman ang pangil ng Arroyo admin.
FOR attending yesterday’s Senate inquiry on the North Railways project, a government corporate lawyer found himself locked out of his office.
Efren Gonzales, assistant government corporate counsel, is the third person to taste the wrath of Executive Order 464 which prohibits the appearance of senior officials before legislative inquiries without the permission of President Arroyo.
The order to padlock Gonzales’ office came from government corporate counsel Agnes Devanadera.
Gonzales was the lone government official who showed up to testify on the P503 million project which has been described by a UP Law Center study as illegal, flawed and violative of accounting and auditing laws.
Other scheduled resource persons stayed away, claiming that they either had not yet looked over the UP Law Center study on the project or because of EO 464.
- Garci now in South America?
Controversial former Com-mission on Elections (Comelec) official Virgilio Garcillano is reportedly taking “refuge” in South America, either in Brazil or Argentina, House committee on public information chairman Gilbert Remulla yesterday said.
The lawmaker made the revelation, citing a very reliable source, during the House committee on appropriations hearing of Malacañang's proposed national budget for 2006 amounting to P1.053 trillion.
Remulla, who led the five committees that heard the wiretapping incidents at the height of the election period last year, quoted very reliable sources informing him that Garcillano could have been hiding in Brazil or Argentina.