Escudero says no to closed-door hearings on graft


Posted at Feb 09 2011 12:03 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2011 01:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Wednesday shot down a proposal to conduct controversial investigations behind closed doors.

"Executive hearing? Hindi naman ata puwede palagi kasi kaya nga public hearing," Escudero told ABS-CBN's morning show, "Umagang Kay Ganda" reacting to Sen. Gringo Honasan's proposal.

Escudero said closed-door or executive sessions should only be conducted if the resource persons will be divulging sensitive information, such as those on national security.

Hours after former defense chief Angelo Reyes committed suicide, Honasan proposed that revelations like those of former military budget officer George Rabusa, should be heard by senators in closed-door hearings.

Honasan also proposed that all resource persons should be required to produce hard evidence before making accusations against any person.

He said that Reyes could have committed suicide because of the allegations against him.

Escudero, however, said Rabusa's testimony before the Senate can be used as evidence to indict military officers involved in alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

"There are two types of evidence, testimonial and documentary. Ang ipinalabas sa Senate ay testimonial evidence na sufficient para isakdal ang sinuman," the senator said.

Meanwhile, Escudero agreed with Honasan that the senators' questioning of resource persons should be moderated.

He said that the postponement of the hearings on military corruption would give senators a week to discern the tragic death of Reyes.