Thursday, March 6, 2008

Historical Archive of the controversial Executive Order 464


Hello Garci Hearings at the Senate

Malacanang invoked Executive Order No. 464 in refusing to cooperate with the investigation of the revived “Hello Garci" tapes controversy by the Senate committee of the whole.

The Senate invited AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Generoso Senga and six other officers, including Gudani and Balutan, to the September 28, 2005 hearing. Senga initially informed the Senate that he cannot attend due to a scheduled meeting but would send the other officers. Later, he reasoned that there were ongoing operations, so he could not attend. But on the morning of September 28, half an hour before the hearing, another letter citing EO 464 was sent to the Senate, instructing the officers not to attend any hearing in Congress without the President's written permission.

Gudani and Balutan testified that the Commission on Elections, aided by other top military officials, maneuvered to "slacken" security in Lanao del Sur, therefore allowing massive cheating in the province during the counting of votes in May 2004.

AFP Information Office chief Col. Tristan Kison also invoked EO 464 in barring ISAFP agents from appearing before the Senate hearings.

Hello Garci Hearings at the House

Brig. Gen. Marlu Q. Quevedo, Lt. Col. Allen Capuyan and Lt. Col. Pedro Sumayo of the ISAFP were not allowed to attend the January 25, 2006 hearing. In his letter to the House about the soldiers' absence, Defense Sec. Avelino J. Cruz, Jr. cited Executive Order No. 464.

Fertilizer Fund Scam Hearings at the Senate

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, former DA Assistant Secretary Ibarra Poliquit and Undersecretary Belinda Gonzales have invoked EO 464 as their reason for refusing to testify before the Senate inquiry.

In the case of Gonzales, she was subpoenaed four times and extended an invitation once to attend the hearings. She was absent in all the hearings citing EO 464. But in the Committee of the Whole on January 31,2006, she cannot abscond the interpellations and was forced to divulge some information.

North Rail Hearings at the Senate

Budget Secretary Romulo Neri, Transportation Sec. Leandro Mendoza and Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Merceditas Gutierrez were absent in the September 29, 2005 Senate probe into the controversial $503-million North Rail project because of Executive Order 464.

Budget Hearings

Invoking EO 464, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and DILG Undersecretary Marius Corpus failed to attend their own budget hearings on February 8, 2006.

Proclamation 1017

PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao and National Telecommunications Commission Chair Ronald Solis invoked EO 464 when they did not attend the Senate hearing on Proclamation 1017 on March 9, 2006.


Gudani and Balutan
On September 28, 2005, they testified in a Senate hearing on the Hello Garci controversy. A letter from Senga instructing them not to attend was read to them and a radio message was also sent, but they still testified. The AFP relieved them, and they are facing court martial for alleged violation of Article of War 65 (Willfully Disobeying Superior Officer). Balutan was appointed deputy superintendent of the Marine Corps Training Center effective April 17, 2006.

Assistant Gov't Counsel Efren Gonzales
While testifying before the Senate panel during the September 29, 2005 hearing on the North Rail project anomaly, he said that his office had been padlocked


On October 7, 2005, Executive Secretary Ermita signed Memorandum Order 192, which granted, permission to those covered by EO 464 to attend confirmation and budget hearings.

However Ermita later said MO 192 was “suspended" by the President effective February 6, 2006 in view of forthcoming hearing and oral arguments on EO 464 at the Supreme Court. (It is not clear why MO had to be suspended when its validity was only until December 31, 2005.)


G.R. No. 169659 (Bayan Muna, et al. vs. Eduardo R. Ermita, et al.)
Bayan Muna, Courage, and Counsels for the Defense of Liberties
G.R. No. 169660 (Francisco I. Chavez vs. Eduardo Ermita, et al.)
G.R. No. 169667 (Alternative Law Groups, Inc. [ALG] vs. Eduardo R. Ermita, et al.)
G.R. No. 169777 (Senate of the Philippines, et al. vs. Eduardo Ermita, et al.)
Senate of the Philippines led by Senate Pres. Franklin M. Drilon
G.R. No. 169834 (PDP-Laban vs. Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita)
PDP-Laban represented by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay
G.R. No. 171246 (Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz, et al. v. Hon. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita)
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (consolidated with other petitions)


On April 20, 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress can compel the appearance of public officials in inquiries "in aid of legislation", but that EO 464 is constitutional insofar as it bans executive officials from appearing during the "question hour" (investigations directed merely to congressional oversight over the implementation of laws).

The Court also held that only the President can invoke executive privilege.
MalacaƱang (through Solicitor General Antonio Eduardo Nachura) filed a motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court ruling. The motion was denied with finality for lack of merit on July 14, 2006.(AP)

Sources: OPS, Senate, PCIJ, TAG, news reports