The Senate, asserting its constitutional function, unanimously passed Resolution 946 authorizing the filing of a petition before the Supreme Court to affirm its power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.
Introduced by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Resolution No. 946, was adopted at Tuesday’s hybrid plenary session Tuesday, invoking Article VI, Section 21 of the Constitution which states that “the Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.”
The unanimous adoption of Senate Resolution 946 was prompted by the issuance of a Palace memorandum issued by by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea directing all Executive Department officials and employees to “stop attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings effective immediately,” referring to an on-going inquiry into the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report and other issues related to the Department of Health budget utilization, especially its COVID-19 expenditures.
Senate President Sotto III stressed that “it is the inherent right and solemn duty of the Senate to preserve, uphold and protect its committees’ constitutional mandate to conduct inquiries, in aid of legislation, including the power to issue compulsory processes.”
The Senate leader reminded that the senators are also empowered with “the right to seek judicial relief and affirmation of its rights and prerogatives under the Constitution if and when challenged or interfered with by any branch, department, agency, or instrumentality of the government or by any individual.”