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Palace to keep off fertilizer fund probe

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:17:00 11/04/2008

STA. ROSA, Laguna, Philippines—Malacañang said it would not invoke executive privilege when the Senate begins investigating the P728-million fertilizer fund controversy.

And even as he maintained that civilian courts were the “proper” forum to determine guilt on the matter, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the Palace would not bar the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s planned inquiry.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, the chairman of the committee, will revive the upper chamber’s inquiry into the fertilizer scam controversy next week, two weeks after its alleged mastermind, former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, returned to the country.

“The Palace will not intervene in the investigation on the fertilizer fund nor invoke executive privilege in the course of the investigation on the case of former undersecretary Bolante,” Dureza told reporters here.

Last year, former socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri invoked executive privilege to evade questions on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s thoughts on the bribery charges surrounding the allegedly overpriced $329-million national broadband project.

The Supreme Court upheld Neri’s use of executive privilege.

“If the Senate feels that it has its own mandate to pursue that particular investigation then we leave that to the Senate,” Dureza said. “But the matter of whether one is guilty in the court of law, it is not in the Senate that it is determined, it is in the proper courts of law.”

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2008-11-04T11:38:05+00:00UTC11bUTCTue, 04 Nov 2008 11:38:05 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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