Saturday, September 29, 2007

At loggerheads

I read the news that the executive department is urging the Senate (legislative branch) to just go to the Supreme Court (judiciary) and question Secretary Neri's assertion of executive privilege in dodging ultra-sensitive questions on the controversial NBN broadband contract.
This is a very loaded statement from the executive and is sending the signal of things to come.
When the executive department is prodding the Senate to just file the appropriate petition before the Supreme Court, then chances are, Secretary Neri will no longer be coming back to testify, even on executive session.
The executive department, through its legal counsel, is painting the scenario that it will be the Senate that will be the petitioner in the Supreme Court.
Therefore, it gives a signal that the executive department will do everything it can, even to the extent of using the armed forces to prevent the legislative department from cracking the shield of executive privilege.
It could have been the other way around.
Secretary Neri could go back to the Senate, in executive session, and then invoke executive privilege.
If this happens, Secretary Neri will be cited for contempt and could be detained, just like National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales before.
In such a scenario, it would be Secretary Neri, or the executive department, through its lawyers, that will petition the Supreme Court, with the Senate as respondent.
In the second scenario, Secretary would be detained in that holding room at the parking area at the ground floor of the Senate building, and will spend his time there until he answers questions of the senators.
The executive deaprtment will then have to file a petition for habeas corpus and ask the Surpeme court to uphold the legality of Sec. Neri's availment of the executive privilege.
But the executive department, based on the latest news, is not inclined to allow the second scenario to happen. This, even as Secretary Neri has asured he's going back to the Senate.
It is probable they're going to guard Secretary Neri, and prevent him from going back to the Senate, at all costs.

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