Arroyo revokes EO 464

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2008 04:58 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2008 12:58 AM

President Arroyo revoked Wednesday Executive Order 464, which bars top government officials from testifying in legislative inquiries without express permission from the President.

"Effective immediately, I am revoking   E.O. 464. Executive officials may no longer invoke E.O. 464 to excuse non-attendance from legislative inquiries. Executive officials are instructed to  abide by the constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence when invited to legislative inquiries," she said in a statement.

Opposition Sen. Jamby Madrigal said President Arroyo abolished the controversial order for her "political survival."

For his part, administration Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said the President's decision "shows her sincerity to let the truth come out."

EO 464 was issued in September 2005 to protect officials from perceived abuse of the Senate’s power of inquiry. The order has been used by various government officials to snub summonses from legislative inquiries.

In April 2006, the Supreme Court ruled EO 464 was constitutional as far as the need for presidential consent is concerned but said it cannot be used to prevent other government officials from testifying at congressional hearings in aid of legislation.

On Tuesday last week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a statement calling for the abolition of EO 464, among other issues.

"We strongly condemn the continuing culture of corruption from the top to the bottom of our social and political ladder," the statement read after the day-long meeting.

"We ask the President to allow her subordinates to reveal any corrupt acts without being obstructed in their testimony no matter who is involved."

The CBCP decision was issued regarding their stand amid mounting calls for Mrs. Arroyo's ouster.