Senators assert right to detain 3 BuCor officials
MANILA, Philippines— The Senate has every right to detain the three officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) for being evasive in the chamber’s ongoing probe on the early release of convicts.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III made this assertion on Thursday after the three officials questioned before the Court of Appeals their detention at the Senate.
The three BuCor officials involved are legal chief Frederic Anthony Santos, BuCor records division head Ramoncito Roque and Ursicio Cenas, medical officer at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) hospital.
“There is an SC (Supreme Court) jurisprudence about that. Remember the Atio case?” Sotto said in a text message.
“(The) Senate has every right to keep them until the committee is done or if the Senate adjourns,” “ the Senate leader added.
He was referring to the 2017 death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio Castillo III which was also investigated by the Senate.
In that inquiry, the Senate cited in contempt one of its resource persons, Aegis Juris fraternity leader Arvin Balag in contempt and consequently detained him for repeatedly invoking his right against self-incrimination.
Balag later questioned his detention before the Supreme Court, which ruled that the Senate’s power power to hold someone in contempt should only lasts until the termination of the legislative inquiry.
Senator Panfilo Lacson backed the Senate’s decision to detain the three BuCor officials.
While recognizing the petitioners’ right to file a habeas corpus petition before the court, Lacson said the Senate is ready to defend its actions based on existing jurisprudence.”/gsg
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