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Mar 25

Read it and weep

ABS-CBNNews Online (with SC rules Arroyo-Neri talks on NBN are secret ) and GMANews.tv (with It’s 9 vs 6: SC favors Neri’s plea vs ZTE probe – sources ) out scooped Inquirer.net on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Neri case. The GMANews.tv report boils down the case as follows:

Neri, who filed the suit in his capacity as former director of the National Economic Development Authority, claimed that the three questions posed to him during his first and only Senate appearance last year were privileged communications covered by the principle of executive privilege and which can only be divulged during an executive session.

The three questions are whether the President followed up the NBN-ZTE project with Neri; whether he was told by the President to prioritize the NBN-ZTE project; and whether the President told him to go ahead with the project after learning of the massive bribe offer.

Neri’s invocation of executive privilege on these questions had prompted senators to cite him for contempt. The Senate also issued an arrest warrant against Neri after he refused to attend the inquiry into the NBN-ZTE deal.

Inquirer.net’s report, SC: Neri can invoke executive privilege, summarizes the decision as follows:

Commission on Higher Education chairman Romulo Neri can invoke executive privilege and cannot be compelled to answer three questions the Senate feels is crucial to getting to the bottom of the scandal-tainted national broadband network (NBN) deal, the Supreme Court has ruled.

 

Voting 6-9, the justices also ruled that the Senate cannot cite Neri or anyone in contempt because the rules of procedure of the 14th Congress had not been published, Supreme Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said.

The breakdown (according ABS-CBNNews’s report), the ponente and the voting was as follows:

The majority ruling was penned by SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro.

She was supported in her decision by Associate Justices Renato Corona, Minita Chico-Nazario, Presbitero Velasco, Antonio Nachura, Dante Tinga, Arturo Brion, Leonardo Quisumbing, and Ruben Reyes.

The six who dissented were: Chief Justice Reynato Puno; Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Adolfo Azcuna, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Alicia Martinez, Consuelo Ynares-Santiago.

Associate Justice Ynares-Santiago was actually on leave during today’s deliberations, but she left her dissenting vote.

It’s interesting to note that the the ponente wasn’t Justice Velasco, as originally reported; and that the freshly-appointed Justice, Brion, voted -and in favor of the government. In his blog, lawyer Teddy Te, Vincula, has something to say about the voting:

 

There is an unsurprising lack of shame in Brion voting on a petition where he did not participate and where popular sentiment held that his appointment was precisely to forestall the effects of a Velasco inhibition. There is also an uncharacteristic lack of delicadeza in De Castro writing for the majority, where her appointment was clearly seen as a reward for convicting Estrada.

This vote, coming on the heels of the 10-4 vote in the Chavez decision, shows just how much headway the Gloria appointees are making in controlling the court. If she lasts until 2010, Gloria Arroyo would have appointed all but one of the Justices (Puno is the exception; but since she appointed Puno Chief Justice, technically she could be considered to have appointed all the Justices).

How’s that for separation of powers? Checks and balances, anyone?

Both parts of the decision, are possibly highly controversial. The reasons why can be gleaned from the March 10 column Fr. Joaquin Bernas wrote, Anatomy of a rejected compromise,

But from the way the Puno Court has been waging a campaign for the protection of rights through the writ of habeas corpus, the writ of amparo and the writ of habeas data, I should not see the Court as being willing to be an instrument for the enfeeblement of democratic institutions.

What then do I hope to see?

I hope to see witnesses coming forward when summoned as witnesses and answering questions asked and, where proper, claiming that the President has instructed them to claim executive privilege.

I hope to see such witnesses being required to elucidate on what privilege they are claiming and submitting such claim for judgment by the Court, if need be, in chambers.

I am confident that the Court will be able to examine the claims presented before it and sift what is truly privileged and what is an attempt to hide wrongdoing.

Among the roles of the judiciary is the exercise of the power of judicial review. The power is a two-edged sword. It can either legitimize or exorcise. Thus in the current controversy the Court will either legitimize the power of the Senate to compel a witness who refuses to heed a subpoena and in the process rebuff Neri and his superior’s resistance to the Senate; or it will legitimize Neri’s refusal to testify and in the process clip the power of the Senate to compel defiant witnesses.

The Senate had occasion in 1950 to detain an uncooperative witness in Arnault v. Nazareno. But in that case Arnault was already before the Senate.

 

The Neri case now is different. The Senate already had him the first time, but they let him go, and Neri now is saying “Catch me, if you can.” Will the Court help the Senate?

Apparently not. In his blog, Philippine Commentary was predicting a decision in favor of Neri, but doesn’t mince words as to the implications of such a decision:

I cannot imagine a more compleat and disastrous demolition of the Separtion of Powers and a curtailment of the Public’s Very Right to Know what their government is doing than this 9-6 decision of the Supreme Court. We are now under an effective Dictatorship of Judicial and Executive Privilege in which the principle of Checks and Balances is no more.

Philippine Commentary supports new legislation patterned after American whistleblower laws, for the following reasons as he explained iin a previous entry.

The decision hasn’t been published on line, yet, so it remains to be seen whether it will go down as one of those decisions that maintain “a color of constitutionality” but which ends up placing the high court in disrepute. For now, The Mount Balatucan Monitor may be premature but not necessarily wrong.

It all hinges on whether the Supremes have enabled executive privilege to help cover up crimes, something that past jurisprudence was held to forbid (see my columns, A color of constitutionality and It’s how you play the game). Up to today, it was a given that the ultimate veto on executive privilege was that in matters involving crimes, executive privilege couldn’t be invoked.

It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court’s arguments in its decision will be. I understand that the decision is over 100 pages! Anyway, Phoenix Eyrie, Reloaded finds it interesting.

Here is the decision and the dissenting opinions: Index of G.R. No. 180643, Romulo L. Neri Vs. Senate Committee, et al.

Meanwhile, an indication of where public opinion lies, is Arroyo trust, approval ratings down while Opposition senators top latest Pulse Asia survey.

195 comments

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  1. mindanaoan

    are their supreme courts in other countries that accept outsourcing? maybe we can send our controversial cases there.

  2. jason born

    Since the SC’s decision has a forced of a law, we just have to wait and hope in the future that the Neri vs Senate doctrine will be reversed.

  3. mindanaoan

    jason born, the JBC was created by the 1987 constitution

  4. Liam Tinio

    @jason

    but they have this fear for their lives in marcos’ era, now we dont have that sort of fear..

    @mindanaoan

    rofl..

    can’t we just outsource everything?
    including running the country?
    i am very tired of having to defend institutions..

    brilliant idea mindanaoan

    btw.. im a mindanaoan as well, davaoeño in particular..

  5. BrianB

    And Manolo, what would you say if someone calls you and your group arrogant for takin on the President, the Bishops and the SC? I don’t think a lengthy explanation on why you think all of the above are wrong would work.

    Stick to what is immediately apparent. Jeq, Anthony and I (and others not mentioned) think we have more than enought to keep this going and escalating. I wouldn’t want to raise a family in country where anything goes if the rich and powerful want it enough. Gloria cheated, and so will the others after her. It’s like the Marcoses all over again. Because the Marcoses were never punished, corruption increased exponentially.

    Your problem right now is that your insecurity is showing. Instead of acting morally superior you are sinking to their level, nitpicking and generally trying to out-pol the pols, to outmaneuver them all. Why do you need so many reasons to remove Gloria?

    Too bad the SC decided to allow Neri to keep mum, but their decision is a small “and” INsignificant target. Many times I called the bishops stupid but that’s only because they are being Obviously stupid. Not so with the SC decision. They cite national security and a lack of compelling reason… well, I dunno, maybe, who knows.

    So let’s not get side-tracked here…

  6. mindanaoan

    Liam Tinio, only controversial cases. it would probably be expensive!

  7. Madonna

    The underbelly of our society is showing right up in this SC decision. The center is not holding. Frisson of a likely bloody revolution in the future. No more wimpy Edsas. A least a consolation, a 6-9 vote. Outnumbered but not outfought. And the Chief Justice penned a dissenting opinion.

    Hay, WTF, too numb to weep.

  8. mlq3

    brian, you’ve lost me. am engaging in dialogue with those who have opposite views, is all.

  9. mlq3

    madonna, frisson is perfect.

  10. Liam Tinio

    oh.. and let’s outsource our elections as well..

    let contractors from Scandinavia or Slovak Republic
    do it.. it seems we can’t just let us trust ourselves anymore..

  11. BrianB

    If Gloria falls, the rest will follow, but if you go after the rest first, Gloria may never fall. It’s not very difficult to go after her directly. No further evidence, bombs (bencard: metaphor) and revelations are needed. There is no need to whittle away her defences, to me she has no defence; it’s all smoke and mirrors… they are playing the emperor’s new clothes. Lucky bitch means she’s lucky very few people are seeing her nakedness.

  12. Diego Torres

    I am utterly floored by the SC decision. Baboy in robes is all i can write.

  13. tonio

    rego:

    this is the first time i’ve ever seen a “sore winner”.

    excuse the rest of the people on this blog if they are a bit upset about the SC decision. what? you’d think these people are so beholden to the Supreme Court that they would give zombiefied nods of assent the minute they bring down their decisions? should we all be happy that your patron gets to stay in the Palace?

    sheesh.

  14. tonio

    all of what’s going on right now are the consequences of a lesson the people should have learned a long time ago. this is the fruit of treating your votes in the elections as unimportant. cheating aside, had more people valued their votes during the last presidential election, this might not be happening.

    this system has been played. and played really well. The President has made full use of the powers of the executive, and successfully co-opted her checks and balances through patronage appointments and congressional largess.

    in short, we’re screwed. the country has no choice but to dance to the whims of that ‘lucky bitch”.

    now is the time to learn what she did to play the system, and to change it at the right time.

  15. jason born

    Mindanaoan:
    yes. Tnx

    Liam:

    Yes, maybe they are not scared. but while they passed through the JBC, the president still has to pick one from the short list. that very last act of the president may fickle the neutrality of a justice.
    Like in the case of newly appointed justice brion, he’s holding an important position under the executive while this mess started. His ties there might have sleeked past when he decided to vote.

  16. Liam Tinio

    but who should pick the justice? senators?

  17. BrianB

    Guys,

    If the SC ruling was so bad, why didn’t Puno and the no voters resign? If they agree with some of us here that the decision spells the final defeat of democracy, why keep up the pretense. Surely the last bastion of democracy is not the SC but the people themselves.

  18. Rob' Ramos

    MLQ, first, thank you once again for the pingback. Me nagbabasa pala ng blog ko XD

    BUT, I wish to correct your impression that I was, er, delighted at the decision. Well, di naman. Masyado.

    I said it was “interesting” because, after all the praises the Puno Court got from those seeking the Little Girl’s ouster, it would be… interesting to see the reactions to this one. The posts here in your blog, Manolo, prove my point.

    As for my “expanded” view on the decision, Liam’s post of March 26th, 2008 at 3:35 pm more or less captures what is in my thoughts. I have nothing new to add to the discussion for now, so I more or less go with what Anthony and the others not calling the SC decision as purely a “Gloria’s boys” thing said.

    Again, MLQ, I’m not (exactly) delighted at it. Just found it… interesting. Whether its in a Chinese sort of way, haha, that’s something we’ll all find out soon, eh?

    I DO want to read that decision, too. Like what Liam said, it would be the best gauge on whether the 9 justices sold out or not. But before that, can we, as supposedly intelligent individuals have the “jury out”, so to speak and pun not intended, on whether this was partisan or a sell out?

    Personally, though, I’ve long lost my awe for the SC. Anyone who saw how they decided on the LP case – unless you’re from the Drilon Wing – would not be able to keep believing its above reproach, nor is it always “solomonic.” The SC’s handling of the LP case left me depressed for months. Para bang di mo na alam kung kanino ka pa sasandal when it comes to what is true or just.

    Kaya, ayan ha: hindi ko dine-defend ang SC dahil hindi ako rabidly anti-Gloria. I’ve seen the SC at its worst and know a bit of those “dark corners” DJB is referring to.

    But at the same time, if you’re going to castigate someone or something – let alone an important institution of society – it better be for solid reasons.

  19. tonio

    Brian:

    while you do have a point there, the fact remains that the Palace has something to hide. Something Neri knows. And now something that is beyond the reach of the people. Is it truly that damaging? all the hoopla of the past few months is on the public’s right to know. Is this information really something we have no right to know?

    what i do like about the decision though is that it should discourage the Senators from pursuing investigations “in aid of pa-pogi and mass media sound bytes”.

  20. mlq3

    brian, the sc is the most tradition-bound institution we have. they don’t resign when outvoted. they hope their dissenting opinions are ratified by history.

  21. mlq3

    rob, my bad. will correct my entry.

    the jury’s still out but even with the most famous judicial cop out in our history, javellana v. executive secretary, the cop out was beautifully adorned. the court’s composition is changing and so, it’s simply a sign of things to come. which is good or bad i suppose depending on those for or against the administration which will face more cases, or interesting to those who are neutral.

  22. BrianB

    manolo, resign re the co-opting of the sc by a corrupt malacanag, and not on losing. You suggest the decision was along party-line and worse, bribery and personal interest had a play. ZThe judgment of history is only relevant when the opinions were made out of beliefs, principles and personal understanding of the law.

  23. mlq3

    brian, the justices are the first to uphold the “presumption of regularity” even when their peers make bad decisions. incidentally, i never said or implied bribery. i believe it’s a bad decision, and one marred by the justices declining to attend to the issues that would have made inhibition a prudent option. and i am beginning to think it’s a decision that will only escalate tensions, politically.

  24. The Ca t

    Ca t, do you statistics on farmers still producing rice using money from lenders?

    I know of this too, it results to about 20% in interest in 3 months (from field preparation to harvest). But I thought that many farmers has gone to their OFW relatives for interest-free loans.

    They can do it one time but not all the time. OFW returnees found this lending to farmers a lucrative underground economic activity and more profitable than putting the money in time deposits and other commercial papers which will yield them only about 1 per cent a month.

    Others do not charge interest but they buy the harvest at a discount. The effect is the same.

    As I have said the price in the market is not dictated by the farmers. It is the middlemen who are capable of buying the harvests to cash-strapped farmers.

    US Government subsidies to farmers come in different forms like buying the excess production.

    Then they dump the products to the third world economies like the Philippines either as an aid or as an export processed product. The rest are used to supply the Food program for the needy in the US at a very low price using government money for the purchase. Ask the old veterans what they do with the big bars of cheese provided to them by the welfare agencies. Minsan ginagamit door stopper.
    Where do these cheese come from? From the excess milk production bought by the government from the farmers.
    Inabot mo na ba yong powdered milk na binibigay daw sa mga public schools sa pinas? Ako hindi na. Galing din doon yon.

    Can the Philippines do this? Nah Not until these congressmen who “represent” the business sector with lobbying money and not the constituency stop blocking proposed legislations that may affect their “buddies'” businesses.

  25. Joselito Basilio

    I am of the view that the majority ruling is jurisprudentially defensible but it is morally wrong. I don’t want to say this but the 9 justices acted in accordance with expediency. It’s a display of judicial favoritism which disturbs the tranquility of the doctrine of checks and balance. I have lost my admiration for Justice Nachura when I read his separate concurring opinion.

    How could a President’s implied power of executive privilege, which is not even expressly defined in the Constitution, prevail over an express and explicit power of inquiry of the Senate which is specifically spelt out in the Constitution? That’s is beyond me. To my mind, the breach of the separation-of-powers principle is more on the side of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court acted with grave abuse of discretion when it castrated the Senate of its express constitutional power of inquiry.

  26. UP n student

    to Joselito :

    When “jurisprudentially defensible” equates to “based on the constitution”, what did you expect the justices to do? For you, the blame should fall on the old folks from 1986/87. They wrote the constitution.

    The future action is on Congress (to pass new laws) or on GMA(to initiate a new constitutional convention). Or on a People-surge of Padre Faura gates, but this will be too late because the decision has been penned.

  27. mindanaoan

    somebody should simplify this concept of executive privilege. why not a blanket privilege, or none at all?

  28. mindanaoan

    Joselito,

    How could a President’s implied power of executive privilege, which is not even expressly defined in the Constitution, prevail over an express and explicit power of inquiry of the Senate which is specifically spelt out in the Constitution?

    perhaps, because this power of inquiry has an attachment: The rights of persons appearing in, or affected by, such inquiries shall be respected. if the right of the person include executive privilege, how is it respected if not by honoring it?

  29. jason born

    but who should pick the justice? senators?
    ————————————————-

    Senators? With the present crop, Cold King is even a better choice where we can put our trust to pick the next jurist without a shadow of doubt of political patronage. Of course, it’s the president, that’s what the constitution says. But the point i want to hammer on is that the JBC is not a 101 percent insurance policy to keep the independence of a SC candidate intact. Neither the appointment of the president will outrightly make the appointee loyal to the appointing power. The test of the pudding is through eating. Retired Justice Artemio Panganiban congratulated justice brion after his appointment with all honesty but with reservation and i quote:
    “Congratulations to new Supreme Court Justice Arturo D. Brion. As the 1974 bar exam topnotcher with a grade of 91.65 and class valedictorian of the Ateneo de Manila College of Law, he is, no doubt, intellectually qualified. His integrity and industry are unquestioned. Should he pass the test of independence, he would surely be hailed a great jurist.

  30. grd

    Should he pass the test of independence, he would surely be hailed a great jurist.

    not only justice brion, but the other 8 justices as well, all failed the test for their decision.

    the battle between good and evil has now reached the supreme court…

    revolution is the answer as what mlq3 has repeatedly implied here.

  31. Liam Tinio

    “enators? With the present crop, Cold King is even a better choice where we can put our trust to pick the next jurist without a shadow of doubt of political patronage. Of course, it’s the president, that’s what the constitution says. [b]But the point i want to hammer on is that the JBC is not a 101 percent insurance policy to keep the independence of a SC candidate intact.[/b] Neither the appointment of the president will outrightly make the appointee loyal to the appointing power. The test of the pudding is through eating. Retired Justice Artemio Panganiban congratulated justice brion after his appointment with all honesty but with reservation and i quote:
    “Congratulations to new Supreme Court Justice Arturo D. Brion. As the 1974 bar exam topnotcher with a grade of 91.65 and class valedictorian of the Ateneo de Manila College of Law, he is, no doubt, intellectually qualified. His integrity and industry are unquestioned. Should he pass the test of independence, he would surely be hailed a great jurist.”

    we can amend the constitution to make this happen.
    but i guess we dont really trust anyone in the government
    that’s why almost everyone here wants a revolution.

    but id rather have a civil war rather than a revolution. revolutions in our country tend to be undertaken by a coalition of different groups with conflicting and irreconcilable difference. while civil wars, if it may happen, have two sides to choose from. now let this civil war happen between the moralists on one hand and the institutionalists on the other.

    but if we want a simpler solution, why dont we just OUTSOURCE everything we dont want Filipinos to handle?
    treason? a slap to freedom and independence? what is freedom anyway if we dont give any official the benefit of the doubt.

  32. anthony scalia

    Jeg,

    “But let me assure you that Im not traumatized by the verdict, if that’s what you mean.”

    no, thats not what i meant. our discussion is solely on Brion’s vote with the majority.

    “It was more or less expected.”

    not really. recent SC decisions on ‘landmark’ cases are not exactly Malacañang friendly

    “I would react ‘that way’ even if it went the other way and Brion voted in the minority. I’d still say, Anong ginagawa nya dun?”

    really? if the SC voted the other way around (executive privilege pierced), I seriously doubt you’d still score Brion for taking part in the voting

    “Appeal to authority and beside the point. Bad taste isnt against the law, after all. Like I said, Im not after the technical ethics. Just the ordinary mundane delicadeza type. A matter of taste, and not of rules.”

    you’re alleging impropriety, an unethical act (not being prompted by delicadeza). no one has ever taken issue with Brion taking part in the decision though he was still with the executive branch during oral arguments.

    In legal and judicial ethics, a lawyer or a judge may perform some legal act which at the same time is completely unethical.

  33. anthony scalia

    Joselito Basilio,

    “The Supreme Court acted with grave abuse of discretion when it castrated the Senate of its express constitutional power of inquiry”

    not really. what the Supreme Court in effect is saying is this – its the Senate who is acting with grave abuse of discretion.

    among the 3 branches of government, the SC has the sole power to interpret the constitution. The SC alone can determine if the other two branches are acting within their respective constitutionally delineated boundaries. In effect also the SC is telling the Senate it is going beyond constitutional limits if executive privilege is removed.

    and let us all be reminded – what castrating are you talking about? the whole circus is about an investigation in aid of legislation. our bright senators do not need Neri’s further testimony to craft whatever legislation they want to make.

    its already a known fact that gloria gave the go signal to the project despite Neri’s advice of a bribery attempt

    investigation in aid of legislation. hindi judicial hearing.

  34. Joselito Basilio

    Not many know that newly appointed Justice Brion is actually deaf. Notwithstanding that, he heard the political whisper of the President and concur with the majority opinion.

  35. Joselito Basilio

    The Supreme Court abused its discretion for evading a positive duty to preserve the constitutional principles of separate of powers and checks and balances.The Supreme Court is not supposed to be concerned with the wisdom of laws, but only in the interpretation and application of the law. It is not their constitutional mandate to pass judgment upon the internal rules of a co-equal body, much more limit the power of the Senate whose authority directly emanates from the people through election.

  36. Bert

    Revolution or civil war, unlike sexual intercourse, are not spur-of-the-moment events that can be invoke when moment of desire arise, as world history would tell us. When the people are desperate, and the advice of their stomach is too compelling to ignore, then lovemaking erupts into its blissful climax.

    Vietnam rice may save us yet!

  37. Bert

    correction: should have been ‘invoked and initiated’. damned keyboard!

  38. maginoo

    mlq3:

    Our efforts could still be ‘weed and reap’ instead of ‘read and weep.’ Remember your admonition, give them a longer rope to hang themselves.

    2010 is a long time and way. Let us sweat the big stuff when we get it.

  39. Bencard

    joselito basilio, you don’t know what you’re talking about. go, join your comrades in the boonies!

  40. anthony scalia

    Joselito Basilio,

    “The Supreme Court abused its discretion for evading a positive duty to preserve the constitutional principles of separate of powers and checks and balances.”

    no, theres no abuse of discretion here. the SC is not encroaching on the Senate’s wisdom (or lack of it) in making laws

    “The Supreme Court is not supposed to be concerned with the wisdom of laws, but only in the interpretation and application of the law.”

    true, yet sorry to say this, but what are you talking about? what ‘wisdom of laws’ is involved in this Neri episode before the SC?

    “It is not their constitutional mandate to pass judgment upon the internal rules of a co-equal body, much more limit the power of the Senate whose authority directly emanates from the people through election.”

    same statement – what are you talking about? what ‘internal rules’? take note ‘investigations’ per se aren’t the primary job of the Senate. remember, any investigation is supposed to be in aid of legislation!

    as you said, the SC is not concerned with the wisdom of laws. in the Neri episode, the SC is not dictating on the Senate on what the law should be, because in the first place, the issue is not on a law or a pending bill

    please remember – the issue here is on the investigation, not on a law or a pending bill

    you can google the SC case about the Senate ratification of the WTO treaty in the 1990s. among other things, the SC ruled that it is a policy, not constitutional issue

  41. Joselito Basilio

    “please remember – the issue here is on the investigation, not on a law or a pending bill”
    Legislative power of inquiry is the power of the legislature to investigate any matter that can be the legitimate subject of legislation. In the Neri case the pending bills of Roxas and Miriam and several Senate resolutions gave rise to the ZTE investigation. Such investigation is grounded on the necessity of the information to the legislative process so it is coextensive with the power to legislate (Arnault vs. Nazareno, G.R. No. L-3820, 18 July 1950, 87 Phil. 29). The inquiry is actually in aid of legislation and the Senate has complied with the parameters laid down in Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon, G.R. No. 97793, 19 November 1991, 203 SCRA 767.

  42. anthony scalia

    Joselito Basilio,

    ****clears throat****

    in Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee – the Senate inquiry was STOPPED because the topic of inquiry was also the subject of a criminal case with the Sandiganbayan.

    Here’s the actual ruling of the SC – for the Senate committee to probe and inquire into the same justiciable controversy already before the Sandiganbayan would be an encroachment into the exclusive domain of judicial jurisdiction that had much earlier set in (turns out the Sandiganbayan case was filed much earlier than the start of the Senate invetsigation)

    in Arnault vs. Nazareno – the issue is whether Arnault can be arrested for contempt of court for refusing to answer a specific question in a Senate inquiry. the SC said no, so Arnault remained in jail until he answers the question

    take note – before Neri could be cited for contempt by invoking executive privilege for refusing to answer a question, he already filed a case with the SC. naunahan na naman. mga opposition talaga, mga bobo. huli palagi!)

    iho, don’t just quote rulings right away. the rulings have a context – the facts of the case

    for your further education on constitutional law, read Angara vs. Electoral Commission (a pre-WW II case) for a much clearer discussion of ‘judicial supremacy’

    and one more thing iho:

    the issue in Neri vs. Senate is not the pending bills on the ZTE deal, but precisely on the validity of executive privilege!

  43. Joselito Basilio

    The problem with some self-confessed constitutionalists who have inordinate opinion of their own superiority is they do not fully understand what constitutionalism is all about. There is no such thing as judicial supremacy. What I learned in Constitutional Law is the supremacy of the Constitution, not judicial supremacy.

    The contempt power of the Senate was already legitimized by a non-political Supreme Court in Arnault in 1950. But the doctrine laid down in Arnault has been disturbed by a political Supreme Court in Neri. I believe the executive privilege is not valid. The power of the Senate to legislate and the right of the people to know the truth about ZTE must prevail over the implied right of the President to invoke executive privilege.

  44. anthony scalia

    Joselito Basilio,

    The problem with some self-confessed constitutionalists who have inordinate opinion of their own superiority is they do not fully understand what constitutionalism is all about. There is no such thing as judicial supremacy. What I learned in Constitutional Law is the supremacy of the Constitution, not judicial supremacy.

    ****clears throat****

    obviously you have not yet read Angara vs. Electoral Commission.

    to everyone out there – you can google Angara vs. Electoral Commission. its very enlightening

    take not i wrote ‘judicial supremacy’. with quotation marks!

    judicial supremacy is “the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority” (Angara vs. Electoral Commission)

    and which branch do you think has the task of interpreting the constitution? whose interpretation of the constitution matters – the executive’s, the legislature’s, or the Supreme Court’s?

    halatang di mo na-gets yung quotation I cited earlier – an ex-US SC justice said “We are under a constitution, but the constitution is what we say it is”

    obviously you’re still a freshman in law school.

    iho, ad hominems won’t get you anywhere. you win arguments on the strength of your own arguments, not on the weakness
    of the person holding contrary views!

    The contempt power of the Senate was already legitimized by a non-political Supreme Court in Arnault in 1950. But the doctrine laid down in Arnault has been disturbed by a political Supreme Court in Neri. I believe the executive privilege is not valid. The power of the Senate to legislate and the right of the people to know the truth about ZTE must prevail over the implied right of the President to invoke executive privilege.

    iho, in your 12:55 post today napakasablay ang iyung pag-cite sa Arnault vs. Nazareno and Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee!

    mukhang ikaw ata ang ‘self confessed constitutionalist’!

    you have not heard yet from bencard!

    the SC isn’t blocking the Senate from legislating.

    iho, believe me, if our bright Senators are only after crafting new legislation, they wont waste time waiting for Neri to testify again without the executive privilege!

  45. jcc

    i said in my post at PCIJ website:

    A corrupt executive, being pursued by a corrupt congress and the issue is being litigated before a corrupt supreme court.

    oh boy, we are totally screwed.

    for more shenanigans of the supreme court, please visit my blog: http://jcc34.wordpress.com/ and look for Sins of the Supreme Court.

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