LUCENA CITY, Quezon - President Aquino cited a Constitutional provision as his way of responding to the reported threat of Senator Miriam Santiago to block the confirmation of a number of Cabinet secretaries after some of them did not appear in the Senate hearing last Friday.
Aquino justified their absence, saying that the Constitution allows executive officials to ask for the scope of the investigation and the questions that would be asked.
“Ano ba ang sinabi lang namin doon? Pwede bang malaman ‘yung mga gusto ninyong itanong dahil makikita po natin ‘yan sa Article VI ng Constitution, Section 22. ‘Pag pinatawag po ninyo ‘yung alter ego ko, may karapatan naman po sigurong malaman ‘yung itatanong para makapaghanda at hindi dumating doon at sabihin ‘I don’t know’, ‘di ba? Parang kung gusto niyo ng resource person, bigyan naman natin ng pagkakataon na makapaghanda, maibigay ‘yung mga tugon sa iyong mga katanungan,” Aquino told reporters after attending the mass oath-taking of new Liberal Party members here.
Article VI, Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution provides:
“The heads of departments may, upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.”
Aquino said the executive was willing to cooperate only that it wanted to know what questions would be asked.
“Well, nasa kanya po ‘yon,” Aquino said of Santiago’s threat.
“Sana ilagay lang po niya sa mga proseso na kung saan merong mga patakaran, ano, at alituntunin na kailangang sundin ng lahat ng miyembro ng lehislatura. Sana po ay dahil may base (basis) rin. Saka ibabalik ko lang ho, ano, hindi ho tama ‘yung hindi kami nagko-cooperate. I think the record will show na parati ho tayong nagko-cooperate. Ang sinasabi lang po natin merong mga patakaran na dapat naman lalo na ang isang mambabatas ay ‘yung susunod, ‘di ba? Gumawa ka ng alituntunin, may proseso, hindi mo susundan parang hindi naman yata angkop ‘yon at hindi tayo pwedeng party,” he added.
“‘Yung pangalawa naman po, meron ‘yung mga patakaran po nila kung paano ba nag-aacquire ng jurisdiction ang isang committee. So mambabatas po siya, executor kami ng mga batas, kailangan po naming siguraduhin na lahat ng proseso ay nasunod para hindi magkaroon ng question pagdating ng oras.”
The President said he is confident that Roxas will not encounter difficulty when he faces the Commission on Appointments.
“I don’t think so. But, again, we will follow and abide by the requirements of the Constitution saka ‘yung processes involved,” he said.