In a unanimous Decision, Sabio versus Gordon the Philippine Supreme Court has just denied the petition for habeas corpus filed on behalf of Camilo Sabio, chairman of the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG), and declared REPEALED the Executive Order No. 1 upon which he thought he could stand above the law, safe behind a patently unconstitutional absolute immunity, answerable to no one. Well, I hope Mr. Sabio enjoys the taste of CROW! In handing the Senate a resounding victory, the High Court declared that:
In fine, PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio and Commissioners Ricardo Abcede, Narciso Nario, Nicasio Conti, and Tereso Javier; and Manuel Andal and Julio Jalandoni, PCGG’s nominees to Philcomsat Holdings Corporation, as well as its directors and officers, must comply with the Subpoenae Ad Testificandum issued by respondent Senate Committees directing them to appear and testify in public hearings relative to Senate Resolution No. 455.Congratulations are in order especially for Senator Dick Gordon who predicts that the land mark decision opens the door to the ABOLITION of the PCGG, and to the exposure of widespread corruption and irregularities having to do with sequestered properties and government owned and controlled corporations. Sen. Gordon shows the kind of balls that seems to be lacking in the rest of that endangered species called the Philippine Senate. Maybe the tide has turned! Crank out them SUBPOENAE AD TESTIFICANDUM, Dick.
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 174340 for habeas corpus is DISMISSED, for being moot. The petitions in G.R Nos. 174318 and 174177 are likewise DISMISSED.
Section 4(b) of E.O. No. 1 is declared REPEALED by the 1987 Constitution. Respondent Senate Committees’ power of inquiry relative to Senate Resolution 455 is upheld. PCGG Chairman Camilo L. Sabio and Commissioners Ricardo Abcede, Narciso Nario, Nicasio Conti and Tereso Javier; and Manuel Andal and Julio Jalandoni, PCGG’s nominees to Philcomsat Holdings Corporation, as well as its directors and officers, petitioners in G.R. No. 174177, are ordered to comply with the Subpoenae Ad Testificandum issued by respondent Senate Committees directing them to appear and testify in public hearings relative to Senate Resolution No. 455.
RICK ABCEDE was quick to call ABSCBN News to declare they would rather read the decision first before commenting.
Well, I hope you choke on it Rick!
From a purely stylistic standpoint, I think the prose of the ponente, J. Sandoval Gutierrez was superb. Her presentation and reasoning are crystal clear and will be easy for anyone reasonably intelligent to read and to follow.
Sabio vs. Gordon is a Decision that builds upon and amplifies the Court's earlier unanimous ruling in Senate vs. Ermita on the issue of the Constitutionality of E.O. 464. Recall that that Decision was also about Congress' power of inquiry in aid of legislation. But where that Decision took on a definitely Solomonic if not equivocal quality about the nature of this power of inquiry in aid of legislation, the present decision is less tentative. Indeed, here the Court stressed that not only is the power of inquiry co-extensive with and inherent in the legislative power of the entire Congress, such power also resides in the work of each of Congress' committees, which are directly conferred with that power by the Constitution.