Thursday, September 29, 2005

Congress Powers Clipped

Posted by Luz Rimban 
PCIJ

PRESIDENT Gloria Arroyo today issued Executive Order 464 clipping the powers of Congress to conduct hearings and to summon officials of the executive department to testify before congressional inquiries.

The order requires cabinet members, police and military generals, senior national security officials, and "such other officers as may be determined by the President" to first seek her approval before appearing before any inquiry of the Senate or the House of Representatives.  

The President invoked "the constitutional guarantees of the separation of  powers of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government" to justify her decree. She also cited Article VI Section 22 of the Constitution which allows cabinet members and other officials to testify at congressional hearings with the permission of the President.

The order was issued as two military officers appeared before the Senate Committee on National Defense which began hearings on the "Hello, Garci" scandal and allegations the President committed fraud  in the May 2004 elections. 

It also comes a week after National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales faced a Senate inquiry on the issue surrounding the government contract with Washington-based law firm Venable LLP.

Read the full text of Executive Order 464 here.  

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