Thursday, September 29, 2005

Constitutional Crisis?

A group of lawyers today warned that an executive order issued by the President yesterday may bring about a constitutional crisis because it is an "encroachment on the authority" of Congress to investigate.

Alternative Lawyers Group, Inc., a group of 17 legal research non-government organization said E.O. 464 limits the power of the Congress to investigate.

"It is unconstitutional. It's an upfront of the authority of the Senate," Atty. Marlon Manuel, the group's spokesperson said.

He added that they are studying the possibility of raising the question to the Supreme Court.

But Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Jr. defended the order.

"Why (will there be a constitutional crisis?)? It did not say we will not appear in investigations. It merely says that when we are called on, we have to seek the permission of the President," Gonzalez said.

He disclosed that he was part of the core group of cabinet members who crafted the executive order. He was with Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Merceditas Gutierrez, and National Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz.

Gonzalez said that the order was constitutional as it has been provided for in Ssec. 22, Art. 6 of the Constitution.

Former President Corazon Aquino, Gonzalez said, has issued a similar order. Memorandum Order No. 112 was issued on September 29, 1987 (Arroyo's was issued on September 28, 2005).

"For those who feel that a constitutional crisis will be reached, you can go to Court," Gonzalez dared.

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