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Palace defers decision on EO 464

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:38:00 02/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has deferred its decision on whether to accede to the demand of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to revoke Executive Order 464 to allow Cabinet officials to testify before legislative inquiries even without its approval.

“We will present our position to the CBCP next week when we will also have a dialogue with the bishops. There are several things that have to be studied first by the legal team,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

“We have to arrive at a consensus first. Of course we want to ensure that our Cabinet officials have some safeguards when they attend Senate hearings,” he added.

Ermita has announced that a legal team composed of himself, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol, government corporate counsel Alberto Agra, and Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera would submit their position on the CBCP call on Thursday.

As it called for the scrapping of EO 464, the CBCP, in a pastoral statement, also called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to lead the fight against corruption.

Allegations that the President and her husband had pocketed millions of dollars in kickbacks from the botched national broadband network project sparked a fresh wave of street protests calling for her ouster.

Meanwhile, the President’s election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said government officials were still covered by executive privilege even if the controversial EO was abolished.

“Any action to scrap EO 464 is a useless exercise because the executive privilege of a President provided for in the said order is embedded or enshrined in our Constitution,” Macalintal said in a statement.

“In other words, the abolition of EO 464 will not diminish a President’s right to exercise her executive privilege which exempts her or her Cabinet members from testifying in Congress without her consent,” he added.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-02-28T09:22:04+00:00+00:0002b+00:00Thu, 28 Feb 2008 09:22:04 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am02

Posted in Uncategorized

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