Guingona: Senate not bound by Ombudsman | Inquirer News

Guingona: Senate not bound by Ombudsman

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:22 PM September 24, 2013

Senator Teofisto Guingona III. RYAN LEAGOGO/

MANILA, Philippines – A defiant Senator Teofisto Guingona III on Tuesday vowed to defend the Senate, stressing that the chamber is not bound by the wishes of the Ombudsman.

“If the Senate President refuses to defend the power of the Senate, I must continue to defend it myself,” Guingona, chairman of the blue ribbon committee investigating the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam, said.


The senator was reacting  to  Senate President Franklin Drilon’s statement that the chamber would defer to  Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ opinion that  it would “not be advisable” for Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the  scam, to  testify in the chamber.


Guingona said he saw no logical reason why Drilon would prevent the committee from calling Napoles in its next hearing on Thursday when he signed a subpoena  for the appearance of whistle-blowers in the scam.

“If we accept the invocation of the Ombudsman’s power to protect the confidentiality of matters before it, then the Senate President should not have signed the subpoena for the whistle-blowers,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The different but unreasonable treatment between the whistle-blowers and Janet Lim-Napoles raises the obvious question: what is so confidential about Ms. Napoles’ possible testimony that it cannot be made under oath before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee? It just does not make logical and legal sense.”

And while Morales had advised the Senate against calling Napoles, Guingona noted that the Ombudsman did not specifically prohibit the chamber from summoning Napoles.

“While we respect the Ombudsman’s advice, we cannot follow it.  The Senate is independent from the Ombudsman.  The Senate is not bound by the advice of the Ombudsman,” Guingona said.

He then cited the power of the Senate to conduct investigations in aid of legislation, as well as the separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branch, which he said was “sacred to the survival of a true democracy.”


“For as long as no encroachment in jurisdiction occurs, each branch must be allowed to exercise its power independently, without being chained to dilatory and baseless tactics,” said Guingona.

And if the Senate President refuses to defend this power of the Senate, then Guingona said he must continue to defend it himself.

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“The Senate cannot surrender its powers without a clear legal justification,” he further said.

TAGS: Nation, News, Senate

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