Sotto confident SC will declare 'unconstitutional' ban on Cabinet participation in Senate hearings

Published November 16, 2021, 2:30 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III is confident the Supreme Court would declare as ‘unconstitutional’ an order of President Duterte banning government officials and workers from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings.

Sotto was referring to a memorandum issued last October 4 by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in the name of President Duterte.

President Duterte had locked horns with Senator Richard J. Angara, Blue Ribbon committee chairman, on the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation issue, where the former claimed Pharmally’s contracts to deliver billions of pesos worth of COVID-29 pandemic-related medical supplies were above board.

Gordon claims otherwise.

Sotto likened the Medialdea order to Executive Order 464 of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Arroyo had ordered her Cabinet members and all those in the Executive branch from attending hearings by the Senate unless she has given them her consent.

Sotto recalled a Malacanang statement that it helped in the foiling by Senate security agents of an attempt by the Dargani siblings’ attempt to leave the for Malaysia via Davao city, the country’s southern backdoor, through a chartered Lear jet that came from Singapore.

Twinkle Dargani, Pharmally president, and her elder brother, Mohit Dargani, Pharmally executive secretary, are now detained at the Senate Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) in Pasay city after they were transported from Davao city last Sunday.

Sotto stressed that the Senate successful operation against the Dargani siblings was due to the leadership of retired Philippine Air Force General Rene Samonte.