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Arnault was therefore cited in contempt by the Senate and

1. Arnault v. Nazareno
was committed to the custody of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms for
Arnault v. Nazareno, G.R. No. L-3820, July 18, 1950 imprisonment until he answers the questions. He thereafter filed a
DECISION petition for habeas corpus directly with the Supreme Court
(En Banc) questioning the validity of his detention.


1. Did the Senate have the power to punish the petitioner for
I. THE FACTS contempt for refusing to reveal the name of the person to whom he
gave the Php440,000.00?
The Senate investigated the purchase by the government of 2. Did the Senate have the authority to commit petitioner for
two parcels of land, known as Buenavista and Tambobong estates. contempt for a term beyond its period of legislative session?
An intriguing question that the Senate sought to resolve was the 3. May the petitioner rightfully invoke his right against self-
apparent irregularity of the government’s payment to one Ernest incrimination?
Burt, a non-resident American citizen, of the total sum of Php1.5
million for his alleged interest in the two estates that only III. THE RULING
amounted to Php20,000.00, which he seemed to have forfeited
anyway long before. The Senate sought to determine who were [The Court DENIED the petition for habeas corpus filed by
responsible for and who benefited from the transaction at the Arnault.]
expense of the government.
1. Yes, the Senate had the power to punish the
Petitioner Jean Arnault, who acted as agent of Ernest Burt petitioner for contempt for refusing to reveal the name of the
in the subject transactions, was one of the witnesses summoned by person to whom he gave the Php440,000.00.
the Senate to its hearings. In the course of the investigation, the
petitioner repeatedly refused to divulge the name of the person to Although there is no provision in the [1935] Constitution
whom he gave the amount of Php440,000.00, which he withdrew expressly investing either House of Congress with power to make
from the Php1.5 million proceeds pertaining to Ernest Burt. investigations and exact testimony to the end that it may exercise
its legislative functions as to be implied. In other words, the power
of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is an essential and material to any proposed or possible legislation; what is required is
appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body that is that it be pertinent to the matter under inquiry.
cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information
respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to effect xxx xxx xxx
or change; and where the legislative body does not itself possess
the requisite information – which is not infrequently true – If the subject of investigation before the committee is within
recourse must be had to others who do possess it. Experience has the range of legitimate legislative inquiry and the proposed
shown that mere requests for such information are often testimony of the witness called relates to that subject, obedience, to
unavailing, and also that information which is volunteered is not its process may be enforced by the committee by imprisonment.
always accurate or complete; so some means of compulsion is
essential to obtain what is needed. 2. YES, the Senate had the authority to commit
petitioner for contempt for a term beyond its period of
xxx xxx xxx legislative session.

[W]e find that the question for the refusal to answer which We find no sound reason to limit the power of the legislative
the petitioner was held in contempt by the Senate is pertinent to body to punish for contempt to the end of every session and not to
the matter under inquiry. In fact, this is not and cannot be the end of the last session terminating the existence of that body.
disputed. Senate Resolution No. 8, the validity of which is not The very reason for the exercise of the power to punish for
challenged by the petitioner, requires the Special Committee, contempt is to enable the legislative body to perform its
among other things, to determine the parties responsible for the constitutional function without impediment or obstruction.
Buenavista and Tambobong estates deal, and it is obvious that the Legislative functions may be and in practice are performed during
name of the person to whom the witness gave the P440,000 recess by duly constituted committees charged with the duty of
involved in said deal is pertinent to that determination — it is in performing investigations or conducting hearing relative to any
fact the very thing sought to be determined. The contention is not proposed legislation. To deny to such committees the power of
that the question is impertinent to the subject of the inquiry but inquiry with process to enforce it would be to defeat the very
that it has no relation or materiality to any proposed legislation. We purpose for which that the power is recognized in the legislative
have already indicated that it is not necessary for the legislative body as an essential and appropriate auxiliary to is legislative
body to show that every question propounded to a witness is function. It is but logical to say that the power of self-preservation
is coexistent with the life to be preserved.
constitutional provision against self-incrimination, unless he is at
But the resolution of commitment here in question was the same time liable to prosecution and punishment for such
adopted by the Senate, which is a continuing body and which does violation. The witness cannot assert his privilege by reason of some
not cease exist upon the periodical dissolution of the Congress . . . fanciful excuse, for protection against an imaginary danger, or to
There is no limit as to time to the Senate’s power to punish for secure immunity to a third person.
contempt in cases where that power may constitutionally be
exerted as in the present case. It is the province of the trial judge to determine from all the
facts and circumstances of the case whether the witness is justified
3. NO, the petitioner may NOT rightfully invoke his in refusing to answer. A witness is not relieved from answering
right against self-incrimination. merely on his own declaration that an answer might incriminate
him, but rather it is for the trial judge to decide that question.
Since according to the witness himself the transaction was
legal, and that he gave the [P440,000.00] to a representative of
Burt in compliance with the latter’s verbal instruction, we find no
basis upon which to sustain his claim that to reveal the name of
that person might incriminate him. There is no conflict of
authorities on the applicable rule, to wit:

Generally, the question whether testimony is privileged is

for the determination of the Court. At least, it is not enough for the
witness to say that the answer will incriminate him as he is not the
sole judge of his liability. The danger of self-incrimination must
appear reasonable and real to the court, from all the
circumstances, and from the whole case, as well as from his
general conception of the relations of the witness. Upon the facts
thus developed, it is the province of the court to determine whether
a direct answer to a question may criminate or not. . . The fact that
the testimony of a witness may tend to show that he has violated
the law is not sufficient to entitle him to claim the protection of the
Citation: G.R. No. L-6749; 97 Phil. 358; July 30, 1955
Ponente: Labrador

Topic: Legislative investigation; may Senate hold a person in

contempt as a punitive measure.

WHEREAS, the Senate holds and finds that the situation of the
said Jean L. Arnault has not materially changed since he was
This was a petition for habeas corpus filed by Jean Arnault against
committed to prison for contempt of the Senate, and since the
the Director of Prisons, Balagtas. Arnault was incarcerated
Supreme Court of the Philippines, in a judgment long since become
pursuant to a resolution by the Senate finding Arnault in contempt
final, upheld the power and authority of the Senate to hold the said
for refusing to disclose the name of a person with whom he
Jean L. Arnault in custody, detention, and confinement, said power
transacted business in relation to a government purchase of of the
and authority having been held to be coercive rather than punitive,
Buenavista and Tambobong estates. The circumstances of
and fully justified until the said Jean L. Arnault should have given
Arnault's incarceration are described in the companion case
the information which he had withheld and continues
Arnaultvs. Nazareno (1950) which affirmed the Legislature's power
contumaciously to withhold;
to hold a person in contempt for defying or refusing to comply with
an order in a legislative inquiry.
WHEREAS, the insolent and manifest untruthful statements made
by the said Jean L. Arnault on the occasions above referred to
Arnault eventually divulged that he had transacted with one Jess
constitute a continuing contempt of the Senate, and an added
D. Santos in relation to the Buenavista and Tambobong deal. Upon
affront to its dignity and authority, such that , were they to be
further inquiry, the Senate, obviously not satisfied with Arnault's
condoned or overlooked, the power and authority of the Senate to
explanations, adopted Resolution No. 114. The title of the
conduct investigations would become futile and ineffectual because
resolution states:
they could be defied by any person of sufficient stubbornness and
xxx There is an inherent fundamental error in the course of action that
the lower court followed. It assumed that courts have the right to
The Court of First Instance ruled in favor of Petitioner Arnault and review the findings of legislative bodies in the exercise of the
ordered his release. prerogative of legislation, or interfere with their proceedings or their
discretion in what is known as the legislative process. The Judicial
ISSUE: department has no right or power or authority to do this, in the
Whether or not Petitioner may be released from his Senate-imposed same manner that the legislative department may not invade the
incarceration. judicial realm in the ascertainment of truth and in the application
and interpretation of the law, in what is known as the judicial
1. Whether or not the CFI has the right to review the findings of the process, because that would be in direct conflict with the
Senate. fundamental principle of separation of powers established by the
Constitution. The only instances when judicial intervention
2. Whether or not the Senate may hold a person in contempt or may lawfully be invoke are when there has been a violation of
incarcerate him as a punitive rather than as a coercive measure. a constitutional inhibition, or when there has been an
arbitrary exercise of the legislative discretion.
YES. The Senate may continue to keep Petitioner incarcerated. 2. YES. The legislature may hold a person in contempt or
incarcerate him as a punitive measure.
1. NO. In the first place, the CFI did NOT have the right to review
the findings of the Senate. In the above quoted resolution, the Although the resolution studiously avoids saying that the
Senate in stating that petitioner “has failed and refused, and confinement is a punishment, but merely seeks to coerce the
continues to fail and refuse, to reveal the person to whom he gave petitioner into telling the truth, the intention is evident that the
the amount of P440,000” and that the situation of petitioner “has continuation of the imprisonment ordered is in fact partly punitive.
not materially charged since he was committed to prison”, clearly This may be inferred from the confining made in the resolution that
shows that the Senate believes that Arnault was still trying to petitioner's acts were arrogant and contumacious and constituted
deceive them. The CFI on the other hand arrogated unto itself to an affront to the Senate's dignity and authority.
review such finding and held that Arnault satisfactorily answered
the questions of the Senate in its investigation of the Buenavista The legislature has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses.
and Tambobong deal. This power is founded upon reason and policy. Said power must be
considered implied or incidental to the exercise of legislative power,
or necessary to effectuate said power. How could a legislative body
obtain the knowledge and information on which to base intended
legislation if it cannot require and compel the disclosure of such
knowledge and information, if it is impotent to punish a defiance of
its power and authority? The legislative department should not be
constrained to look to the courts whenever for every act of refusal,
every act of defiance, every act of contumacy with which it is faced.

The exercise of the legislature's authority to deal with the defiant

and contumacious witness should be supreme and is not subject to
judicial interference, except when there is a manifest and absolute
disregard of discretion and a mere exertion of arbitrary power
coming within the reach of constitutional limitations.

The judgment appealed from should be, as it hereby is, reversed,

and the petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus
denied. The order of the court allowing the petitioner to give bail is
declared null and void and the petitioner is hereby ordered to be
recommitted to the custody of the respondent. With cost against
the petitioner-appellee.
Act or RA 3019. The Senate Committee on Accountability of Public
Officers or Blue Ribbon Committee (SBRC) started its investigation
through a hearing on 23 May 1989, but Lopa and Bengzon
declined to testify. The SBRC rejected petitioner Bengzon s plea
and voted to pursue its investigation. Petitioner claims that the
3. Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee SBRC, in requiring their attendance and testimony, acted in excess
of its jurisdiction and legislative purpose. Hence this petition.
Bengzon v. Blue Ribbon

FACTS: 1. WON the court has jurisdiction over this case.
On 30 July 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by 2. WON the SBRC s inquiry has a valid legislative purpose.
the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), filed a
complaint with Sandiganbayan against the petitioners of this case. 3. WON the sale or disposition of the Romualdez corporations is a
PCGG allege, among others, that: defendants (petitioners therein) purely private transaction which is beyond the power of the SBRC
Benjamin Kokoy Romualdez and Juliette. Gomez Romualdez, to inquire into.
alleged cronies of former President Marcos and First Lady Imelda 4. WON the inquiry violates the petitioners right to due process.
Romualdez Marcos, engaged in schemes and stratagems to
unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of the Filipino people.
Among these stratagems are (1) obtained control of some big
business enterprises such as HELD:

MERALCO, Pilipinas Shell, and PCI Bank, (2) manipulated the 1. YES. As the court held in Angara vs. Electoral Commission, the
formation of Erectors Holding Inc, to appear viable and borrow Constitution provided for an elaborate system of checks and
more capital, reaching a total of more that P2 billion, (3) balances to secure coordination in the workings of the departments
collaborated with lawyers (petitioners therein) of the Bengzon Law of the government, and it is the judiciary that was vested of the
Offices in concealing funds and properties, in maneuvering the powers to determine the scope, nature and extent of such powers.
purported sale of interests in certain corporations, in misusing the
Meralco Pension Fund worth P25 million, and in cleverly hiding
behind the veil of corporate entity. On 13 September 1988, Sen. 2. NO. The speech of Sen. Enrile contained no suggestion on
Juan Ponce Enrile delivered a speech before the Senate on the contemplated legislation; he merely called upon the Senate to look
alleged take-over of SolOil Incorporated by Ricardo Lopa (who died into a possible violation of Sec. 5 of RA 3019. The purpose of the
during the pendency of this case) and called upon the senate to inquiry to be conducted by respondent SBRC was to find out WON
look into possible violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices the relatives of President Aquino, particularly Ricardo Lopa, had
violated the law in connection with the alleged sale of the 36/39
corporations of Kokoy Romualdez to the Lopa Group. There
appears, therefore, no intended legislation involved. The inquiry
also is not conducted pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 2123 (SR
2123), as the committee alleges. The inquiry under SR 2123 is to
look into the charges against PCGG filed by stockholders of
Oriental Petroleum in connection with the implementation of
Section 26 Article XVIII of the Constitution.

3. YES. Mr. Lopa and the petitioners are not connected with the
government and did their acts as private citizens, hence such a
case of alleged graft and corruption is within the jurisdiction, not of
the SBRC, but of the courts. Sandiganbayan already took
jurisdiction of this issue before the SBRC did. The inquiry of the
respondent committee into the same justiciable controversy already
before the Sandiganbayan would be an encroachment of into the
exclusive domain of judicial jurisdiction.

4. NO. The Constitution provides the right of an accused of a crime

to remain silent; this extends also to respondents in administrative
investigation but only if they partake of the nature of a criminal
proceeding. This is not so in this case. BUT since the court already
held that the inquiry is not in aid of legislation, the petitioners
therein cannot be compelled to testify.
Whether or not respondent Judge Jose Majaducon committed
grave abuse of discretion when he dismissed the petition for
prohibition and issued the writ of preliminary injunction.

4. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee v. Majaducon Ruling:

The assailed resolution of respondent Judge Majaducon was issued

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee vs. Majaducon (G.R. No. 136760) without legal basis. The principle of separation of powers
essentially means that legislation belongs to Congress, execution to
Facts: the Executive, and settlement of legal controversies to the
Judiciary. Each is prevented from invading the domain of the
This case had its aegis when the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee
others. When the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee served subpoena
conducted an inquiry into the alleged mismanagement of the funds
on respondent Flaviano to appear and testify before it in
and investment of the Armed Forces Retirement and Separation
connection with its investigation of the alleged misuse and
Benefits System (AFP-RSBS). During the public hearings by the
mismanagement of the AFP-RSBS funds, it did so pursuant to its
Blue Ribbon Committee, it appeared that the AFP-RSBS purchased
authority to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. This is clearly
a lot from Atty. Nilo J. Flaviano worth P10,500 per square meter.
provided in Article 6, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution:
However, the deed of sale filed with the Register of Deeds indicated
that the purchase price of the lot was only P3,000 per square The Senate of the House of Representatives or any of its respective
meter. The Committee caused the service of a subpoena to Atty. committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in
Flaviano, directing him to appear and testify before it. Respondent accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of
refused to appear and filed a petition for prohibition and persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be
preliminary injunction with prayer for temporary restraining order respected.
with the RTC of General Santos City. The trial court issued a TRO
directing the committee to cease and desist from proceeding with Hence, the RTC of General Santos City, or any court for that
the inquiry. The Committee filed a motion to dismiss on the ground matter, had no authority to prohibit the Committee from requiring
of lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a valid cause of action. respondent t appear and testify before it.
The Trial Court denied the motion to dismiss. Hence, this petition Also, the ruling in Bengzon vs. Blue Ribbon Committee cited by the
for certiorari alleging that Judge Majaducon committed grave respondent does not apply in this case. The factual circumstances
abuse of discretion and acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. therein are different from those in the case at bar. In Bengzon, no
intended legislation was involved and the subject matter of the
inquiry was more within the province of the courts rather than the
Issue: legislature. On the other hand, there was in this case a clear
legislative purpose, and this is to look into the reported misuse and
mismanagement of the AFP-RSBS funds, with the intention of speakers in a public hearing on the railway project, others on the
enacting appropriate legislation to protect the rights and interests issues of massive election fraud in the Philippine elections, wire
of the officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. tapping, and the role of military in the so-called “Gloriagate

Said officials were not able to attend due to lack of consent from
Wherefore, the petition is GRANTED. the President as provided by E.O. 464, Section 3 which requires all
the public officials enumerated in Section 2(b) to secure the
consent of the President prior to appearing before either house of
5. Senate v. Ermita Congress.

Senate vs. Ermita , GR 169777, April 20, 2006 ISSUE:

Is Section 3 of E.O. 464, which requires all the public officials,

enumerated in Section 2(b) to secure the consent of the President
prior to appearing before either house of Congress, valid and
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition proffer that the constitutional?
President has abused power by issuing E.O. 464 “Ensuring
Observance of the Principles of Separation of Powers, Adherence to
the Rule on Executive Privilege and Respect for the Rights of Public RULING:
Officials Appearing in Legislative Inquiries in Aid of Legislation
Under the Constitution, and for Other Purposes”. Petitioners pray No. The enumeration in Section 2 (b) of E.O. 464 is broad and is
for its declaration as null and void for being unconstitutional. covered by the executive privilege. The doctrine of executive
privilege is premised on the fact that certain information must, as a
In the exercise of its legislative power, the Senate of the matter of necessity, be kept confidential in pursuit of the public
Philippines, through its various Senate Committees, conducts interest. The privilege being, by definition, an exemption from the
inquiries or investigations in aid of legislation which call for, inter obligation to disclose information, in this case to Congress, the
alia, the attendance of officials and employees of the executive necessity must be of such high degree as to outweigh the public
department, bureaus, and offices including those employed in interest in enforcing that obligation in a particular case.
Government Owned and Controlled Corporations, the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police Congress undoubtedly has a right to information from the
(PNP). executive branch whenever it is sought in aid of legislation. If the
executive branch withholds such information on the ground that it
The Committee of the Senate issued invitations to various officials is privileged, it must so assert it and state the reason therefor and
of the Executive Department for them to appear as resource why it must be respected.
The infirm provisions of E.O. 464, however, allow the executive staff of the Commission shall be required to testify or produce
branch to evade congressional requests for information without evidence in any judicial, legislative or administrative proceeding
need of clearly asserting a right to do so and/or proffering its concerning matters within its official cognizance.” Apparently, the
reasons therefor. By the mere expedient of invoking said purpose is to ensure PCGG’s unhampered performance of its task.
provisions, the power of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of Gordon’s Subpoenae Ad Testificandum was repeatedly ignored by
legislation is frustrated. Sabio hence he threatened Sabio to be cited with contempt.

ISSUE: Whether or not Section 4 of EO No. 1 is constitutional.

HELD: No. It can be said that the Congress’ power of inquiry has
6. Sabio v. Gordon gained more solid existence and expansive construal. The Court’s
high regard to such power is rendered more evident in Senate v.
Compulsory Process ( Appearance of witnesses ) Ermita, where it categorically ruled that “the power of inquiry is
broad enough to cover officials of the executive branch.” Verily, the
Disclosure Of information / Production of documents Court reinforced the doctrine in Arnault that “the operation of
government, being a legitimate subject for legislation, is a proper
subject for investigation” and that “the power of inquiry is co-
extensive with the power to legislate”. Subject to reasonable
Camilo Sabio vs Richard Gordon conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a
policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving
504 SCRA 704 – Political Law – Inquiry in aid of legislation – public
public interest.
Article III, Section 7
On February 20, 2006, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago
introduced Senate Res. No. 455 “directing an inquiry in aid of The right of the people to information on matters of public concern
legislation on the anomalous losses incurred by the Philippines shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents,
Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC), Philippine and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as
Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT), and well as to government research data used as basis for policy
PHILCOMSAT Holdings Corporation (PHC) due to the alleged development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations
improprieties in their operations by their respective Board of as may be provided by law.
Directors.” Pursuant to this, on May 8, 2006, Senator Richard
These twin provisions of the Constitution seek to promote
Gordon, wrote Chairman Camilo Sabio of the PCGG inviting him to
transparency in policy-making and in the operations of the
be one of the resource persons in the public meeting jointly
government, as well as provide the people sufficient information to
conducted by the Committee on Government Corporations and
enable them to exercise effectively their constitutional rights.
Public Enterprises and Committee on Public Services. Chairman
Armed with the right information, citizens can participate in public
Sabio declined the invitation because of prior commitment. At the
same time, he invoked Section 4(b) of E.O. No. 1 “No member or
discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and to the jurisdiction of respondent Committee to continue with the
their effective implementation. inquiry.


Whether or not the respondent Committee, by aid of legislation,

would encroach upon the judicial powers vested solely in the
courts who took cognizance of the foregoing cases.


Yes. The unmistakable objective of the investigation, as set forth in

the resolution, as initiated in the privileged speech of Senate
President Enrile, was simply "to denounce the illegal practices
committed by a foreign bank in selling unregistered foreign
7. Standard Chartered Bank v. Senate Bank securities xxx", and at the conclusion of the said speech "to
immediately conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, so as to
prevent the occurrence of a similar fraudulent in the future."
SCB Philippines vs Senate Committee on Banks, Financial
Institution and Currencies en banc
The mere filing of a criminal or administrative complaint before a
G.R. No. 167173 December 27, 2007 court or a quasi-judicial body should not automatically bar the
conduct of legislation. The exercise of sovereign legislative
authority, of which the power of legislative inquiry is an essential
SCB Phil Branch had criminal and civil charges against them component, cannot be made subordinate to a criminal or an
before the courts in Metro Manila for selling unregistered foreign administrative investigation.
securities in violation of Securities Regulation Code (RA 8799).
Enrile, in his privileged speech, urged the Senate to immediately
conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation, to prevent the occurrences The intent of legislative inquiries is to arrive at a policy
of a similar fraudulent in the future. The respondent Committee determination, which may or may not be enacted into law. Except
then set an initial hearing to investigate, in aid of legislation only when it exercises the power to punish for contempt, the
thereto. SCB stressed that there were cases allegedly involving the committees of the Senate or the House of Representatives cannot
same issues subject of legislative inquiry, thus posting a challenge penalize violators even there is overwhelmingly evidence of criminal
culpability. Other than proposing or initiating amendatory or The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN deal. On
remedial legislation, respondent Committee can only recommend the other hand, Joe De Venecia issued a statement that several
measures to address or remedy whatever irregularities may be high executive officials and power brokers were using their
unearthed during the investigation, although it may include in its influence to push the approval of the NBN Project by the NEDA.
Report a recommendation for criminal indictment of persons who Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before the
may appear liable. At best, the recommendation, along with the Senate Blue Ribbon. He appeared in one hearing wherein he was
evidence, contained in such Report would only be persuasive, but it interrogated for 11 hrs and during which he admitted that Abalos
is still up to the prosecutorial agencies and the courts to determine of COMELEC tried to bribe him with P200M in exchange for his
the liabilities of the offender. approval of the NBN project. He further narrated that he informed
President Arroyo about the bribery attempt and that she instructed
him not to accept the bribe. However, when probed further on what
they discussed about the NBN Project, Neri refused to answer,
invoking “executive privilege“. In particular, he refused to answer
the questions on (a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up
the NBN Project, (b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it,
and (c) whether or not she directed him to approve. He later
refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita sent a letter to the
SBRC averring that the communications between GMA and Neri is
privileged and that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs
8. Neri v. Senate Ermita be applied. The SBRC cited Neri for contempt.
Compulsory process ( A, B and C) ISSUE: Whether or not the three questions sought by the SBRC to
be answered falls under executive privilege.
HELD: The oversight function of Congress may be facilitated by
Neri v. Senate compulsory process only to the extent that it is performed in
pursuit of legislation.

549 SCRA 77 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Legislative

Department – Inquiry in aid of legislation – Executive Privilege The communications elicited by the three (3) questions are covered
by the presidential communications privilege.
Legislative (Sec 21) & Oversight (Sec 22) Powers

1st, the communications relate to a “quintessential and non-

In April 2007, DOTC entered into a contract with Zhong Xing
delegable power” of the President, i.e. the power to enter into an
Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) for the supply of equipment
executive agreement with other countries. This authority of the
and services for the National Broadband Network (NBN) Project in
President to enter into executive agreements without the
the amount of $329,481,290.00 (approximately P16 Billion Pesos).
The Project was to be financed by the People’s Republic of China.
concurrence of the Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Virgilio Garcillano to manipulate in her favor results of the 2004
Philippine jurisprudence. presidential elections. These recordings were to become the subject
of heated legislative hearings conducted separately by committees
of both Houses of Congress.
2nd, the communications are “received” by a close advisor of the
President. Under the “operational proximity” test, petitioner can Intervenor Sagge alleges violation of his right to due process
be considered a close advisor, being a member of President Arroyo’s considering that he is summoned to attend the Senate hearings
cabinet. And without being apprised not only of his rights therein through the
publication of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in
Aid of Legislation, but also of the intended legislation which
3rd, there is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would underpins the investigation. He further intervenes as a taxpayer
justify the limitation of the privilege and of the unavailability of
bewailing the useless and wasteful expenditure of public funds
the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating
involved in the conduct of the questioned hearings.
The respondents in G.R. No. 179275 admit in their pleadings and
even on oral argument that the Senate Rules of Procedure
Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation had been published in
newspapers of general circulation only in 1995 and in 2006. With
respect to the present Senate of the 14th Congress, however, of
which the term of half of its members commenced on June 30,
2007, no effort was undertaken for the publication of these rules
when they first opened their session.
9. Garcillano v. House Committees Respondents justify their non-observance of the constitutionally
mandated publication by arguing that the rules have never been
GARCILLANO vs. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, amended since 1995 and, despite that, they are published in
G.R. No. 170338 December 23, 2008 booklet form available to anyone for free, and accessible to the
public at the Senate’s internet web page.

Tapes ostensibly containing a wiretapped conversation purportedly
between the President of the Philippines and a high-ranking official Whether or not publication of the Rules of Procedures Governing
of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) surfaced. The tapes, Inquiries in Aid of Legislation through the Senate’s website,
notoriously referred to as the "Hello Garci" tapes, allegedly satisfies the due process requirement of law.
contained the President’s instructions to COMELEC Commissioner

The publication of the Rules of Procedure in the website of the

Senate, or in pamphlet form available at the Senate, is not
sufficient under the Tañada v. Tuvera ruling which requires
publication either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of
general circulation. The Rules of Procedure even provide that the
rules "shall take effect seven (7) days after publication in two (2)
newspapers of general circulation," precluding any other form of
publication. Publication in accordance with Tañada is mandatory
to comply with the due process requirement because the Rules of
Procedure put a person’s liberty at risk. A person who violates the
Rules of Procedure could be arrested and detained by the Senate.

The invocation by the respondents of the provisions of R.A. No.

8792, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, to
support their claim of valid publication through the internet is all
the more incorrect. R.A. 8792 considers an electronic data message
or an electronic document as the functional equivalent of a written
document only for evidentiary purposes. In other words, the law
merely recognizes the admissibility in evidence (for their being the
original) of electronic data messages and/or electronic documents.
It does not make the internet a medium for publishing laws, rules
and regulations.

Given this discussion, the respondent Senate Committees,

therefore, could not, in violation of the Constitution, use its
unpublished rules in the legislative inquiry subject of these
consolidated cases. The conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation by
the Senate has to be deferred until it shall have caused the
publication of the rules, because it can do so only "in accordance
with its duly published rules of procedure."
€45,000.00 (P2,970,000.00). He failed to declare in writing that he
is carrying such an amount and this is in violation of the United
Nations Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations
Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. De La Paz and
his group was later released but the €s were confiscated by the
Russians. Upon arrival to the Philippines, De La Paz was issued a
subpoena by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for the
investigation it was to conduct involving the Moscow incident. De
La Paz averred that the said committee does not have jurisdiction
of the case. De La Paz argued that the Committee is devoid of any
jurisdiction to investigate the Moscow incident as the matter does
not involve state to state relations as provided in paragraph 12,
Section 13, Rule 10 of the Senate Rules of Procedure (Senate
Rules). They further claim that respondent Committee violated the
same Senate Rules when it issued the warrant of arrest without the
required signatures of the majority of the members of respondent
Committee. They likewise assail the very same Senate Rules
because the same were not published as required by the
Constitution, and thus, cannot be used as the basis of any
investigation involving them relative to the Moscow incident.

ISSUE: Whether or not the said Committee has jurisdiction over

10. Spouses dela Paz v. SCFR
the matter.

HELD: The SC ruled against De La Paz. Section 16(3), Article VI of

Sps de la Paz v. Senate Committee on FR the Philippine Constitution states:”Each House shall determine the
rules of its proceedings.” This provision has been traditionally
Inquiry in Aid of Legislation – Jurisdiction and Publication construed as a grant of full discretionary authority to the Houses of
Congress in the formulation, adoption and promulgation of its own
Jurisdictional Challenge
rules. The challenge to the jurisdiction of the Senate Foreign
In October 2008, Gen. De La Paz, a senior officer of the PNP, Relations Committee, raised by petitioner in the case at bench, in
headed a delegation of 8 to attend an Interpol GA. De La Paz effect, asks this Court to inquire into a matter that is within the
brought with him his wife and 3 days after the scheduled GA, de la full discretion of the Senate. The issue partakes of the nature of a
Paz is also scheduled to retire. After the GA, De La Paz was political question. Also, the signatures were properly obtained as
apprehended in the departure area for he was carrying with him evidenced by the approval of the Senate president and it is shown
€105,000.00 (P6,930,000.00). He was also carrying with him that the gathering of the signatures is in accordance with the
Rules. It is also shown that the Rules of Procedure Governing Rule 65, assailing the constitutionality of the invitations and
Inquiries in Aid of Legislation were also published in two compulsory processes issued by the Senate Committee on Labor,
newspapers of general circulation. Employment and Human Resources Development in connection
with its investigation on the investment of Overseas Workers
Welfare Administration(OWWA) funds in the Smokey Mountain

Pursuant to Resolution No. 537 and 543,Petitioner Reghis

Romero II as owner of R-II Builders Inc. was invited by the
Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources
Development to attend a public hearing at the Senate on August
23,2006 regarding the investment of OWWA (Overseas Workers
Welfare Administration) funds in the Smokey Mountain project.
The investigation is intended to aid the Senate in the review and
possible amendments to the pertinent provisions of RA 8042,The
Migrant Workers Act.

Petitioner Romero in his letter-reply requested to be excused

from appearing and testifying before the Committee at its
scheduled hearings of the subject matter and purpose of Philippine
Senate Resolution Nos. 537 and 543. The Committee denied his
request. On the same date, invitations were sent to the other six
11. Romero v. Estrada petitioners, then members of the Board of Directors of R-II Builders
Inc. requesting them to attend the September 4,2006 Committee
hearing. The next day, Senator Jinggoy Estrada as Chairman of the
Committee issued subpoena ad testificandum to petitioner Romero
GR No. 174105
II directing him to appear and testify before the Committee relative
Reghis Romero II et al vs. Jinggoy Estrada et al to the aforesaid Senate resolutions. The Committee later issued
subpoenas to the Board of Directors of R-II Builders Inc.

Petitioners filed a petition for prohibition with application for
temporary restraining order(TRO) and preliminary injunction under
Whether or not the subject matter of the Senate inquiry is sub The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its
judice respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of
legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
procedure. The rights of persons appearign in or affected by
Ruling: such inquiries shall be respected. (Art. VI, Section 21 of the 1987
Philippine Constitution)
NO. The Supreme court held that the sub judice issue has
been rendered moot and academic by the supervening issuance of
the en banc resolution of July 1, 2008 in GR No. 164527. An issue
or a case becomes moot and academic when it ceases to present a
justiciable controversy, so that a determination of the issue would
be without practical use and value. In such cases, there is no
actual substantial relief to which the petitioner would be entitled
and which would be negated by the dismissal of the petition. Thus,
there is no more obstacle-on the ground of sub judice, assuming it
is invocable to the continuation of the Committee’s investigation
challenged in this proceeding.

As stated in Arnault vs. Nazareno, the power of inquiry with

process to enforce it is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the
legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or
effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions
which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where the
legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information
which is not infrequently true- recourse must be had to others who
possess it.

The court further held that when the Committee issued

invitations and subpoenas to petitioners to appear before it in
connection with its investigation of its aforementioned investments,
it did so pursuant to its authority to conduct inquiries in aid of
legislation. This is clearly provided in Art. VI, Sec.21 of the 1987
Philippine Constitution. The court has no authority to prohibit a
Senate committee from requiring persons to appear and testify
before it in connection with an inquiry in aid of legislation in
accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.



PHILCOMSAT is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippine

Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC), a government-
sequestered organization in which the Republic of the Philippines
holds a 35% interest in shares of stocks. For the period from 1986
to 1996, the government, through the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG), regularly received cash dividends from
POTC. However, POTC suffered its first loss.

In view of the losses that the government continued to incur and in

order to protect its interests in POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC,
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, during the Second Regular
Session of the Thirteenth Congress of the Philippines, introduced
Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 455 directing the conduct of
an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the anomalous losses incurred
by POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC and the mismanagement
committed by their respective board of directors.

Respondents Senate Committees submitted the assailed Committee

Report No. 312, where it noted the need to examine the role of the
PCGG in the management of POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC. After
12. Philcomsat v. Senate due proceedings, the respondents Senate Committees found
G.R. No. 180308 : June 19, 2012 overwhelming mismanagement by the PCGG and its nominees over
POTC, PHILCOMSAT and PHC, and that PCGG was negligent in
PHILCOMSAT HOLDINGS CORPORATION, ENRIQUE L. LOCSIN performing its mandate to preserve the government's interests in
AND MANUEL D. ANDAL, Petitioners, v. SENATE OF THE the said corporations. In sum, Committee Report No. 312
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE COMMITTEE ON recommended, inter alia, the privatization and transfer of the
GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES, jurisdiction over the shares of the government in POTC and
SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICES, HON. SEN. PHILCOMSAT to the Privatization Management Office (PMO) under
the Department of Finance (DOF) and the replacement of No. 312, given its constitutional mandate to conduct legislative
government nominees as directors of POTC and PHILCOMSAT. inquiries. Nor can the respondent Senate be faulted for doing so on
the very same day that the assailed resolution was submitted. The
Petitioners filed the instant petition before the Court, questioning, wide latitude given to Congress with respect to these legislative
in particular, the haste with which the respondent Senate approved inquiries has long been settled, otherwise, Article VI, Section 21
the challenged Committee Report No. 312. would be rendered pointless.

ISSUE: Whether or not Committee Resolution No. 312 should be DISMISSED

nullified, having proposed no piece of legislation and having been
hastily approved by the respondent Senate?

HELD: Committee Report No. 312 is sustained.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: senate's power of inquiry

The respondents Senate Committees' power of inquiry relative to

PSR No. 455 has been passed upon and upheld in the consolidated
cases of In the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of Camilo
L. Sabio, which cited Article VI, Section 21 of the Constitution, as

"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 rights of
persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be

The Court explained that such conferral of the legislative power of

inquiry upon any committee of Congress, in this case the
respondents Senate Committees, must carry with it all powers
necessary and proper for its effective discharge.

On this score, the respondents Senate Committees cannot be said

to have acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
in excess of jurisdiction when it submitted Committee Resolution
Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S.168 (1880), was a United
States Supreme Court case that dealt with the question
whether or not the United States House of Representatives
may compel testimony.
Hallet Kilbourn was subpoenaed to testify before a Special
Committee established by the House of Representatives to
investigate the bankruptcy of Jay Cooke & Company. Though
he appeared, he refused to answer any questions and did not
tender requested documents. John G. Thompson, Sergeant-
At-Arms for the House, took Kilbourn into custody. Kilbourn
continued to refuse to testify and provided no explanation for
his refusal. The House resolved that Kilbourn was in contempt
and should be held in custody until he agreed to testify and
produce the requested documents. The Court found that the
House did not have the power to punish for contempt.
However, House members could not be sued for false
imprisonment as they were exercising their official duties and
protected by the Speech and Debate Clause, Art. I, § 6, cl. 1.
In addition the Supreme Court established several limits in the
scope of investigations, called the "Kilbourn Test".
The Kilbourn Test
(1) Inquiries must not "invade areas constitutionally reserved
to the courts or the executive"
(2) Inquiries must deal "with subjects on which Congress
13. Kilbourn v. Thomson could validly legislate"
- Can’t find a case brief – ang haba eh haha
(3) The resolution authorizing the investigation must specify "
a congressional interest in legislating on that subject."
(4) Where the inquiry can result in "no valid legislation," then Facts of the case
the "Private affairs of individuals" are not valid targets for A Senate Committee (Committee) undertook an
investigation into the activities of the Department of Justice
(DOJ) and the Attorney General (AG) in order to determine
whether each entity was properly executing its
responsibilities. As part of the investigation, the Committee
issued a subpoena, compelling the testimony of a particular
witness (defendant). The witness did not comply with the
subpoena. He was consequently arrested, and he filed a
habeas corpus petition for release, arguing that the Senate
was not constitutionally empowered to carry out the
investigation into executive activities or compel him to
appear and testify. The lower court granted the habeas
petition, and the Committee appealed.

Was the Senate committee out-of-bounds in issuing its
contempt order since the purpose of the investigation had
nothing to do with the committee's legislative purpose?

The Court upheld Daugherty's contempt conviction,
establishing a presumption that congressional
investigations have a legislative purpose. This presumption
was not overcome by showing that the committee also had
another purpose, such as exposure of wrongdoing. This
presumption would later restrict the Court's hand in clear
cases of congressional overreaching while investigating
communists after World War II.

14. McGrain vs. Daugherty, 273 U.S. 135 (1927)

15. Sinclair vs. United States, 279 U.S. 263 (1929)
2. A defendant in a criminal trial and others acting for him, when
accused of contempt in causing the jurors to be shadowed, cannot
Syllabus exculpate themselves by proving like wrongful conduct, amounting
1. By the procurement of the defendant in a criminal case and of to a practice, by the Department of Justice in other cases. P. 279
others acting by his direction, the jurors, throughout the progress U. S. 765.
of the trial, were systematically shadowed by a corps of private 3. A refusal to call and hear very numerous witnesses offered by
detectives, each of whom, having at first identified his subject persons who had been convicted of contempt in the shadowing of
within the courtroom, would follow him closely while away from it. jurors and who sought by such witnesses to prove like conduct of
Jurors were thus kept under strict surveillance from early morning the Department of Justice in other cases in mitigation of their
until late at night, whenever not actually within the courthouse. punishment held within the proper discretion of the trial court, the
Investigations were also made by the operatives concerning defendants having been allowed full opportunity to advise the court
encumbrances on the home of one juror and to determine whether of their knowledge, beliefs, and state of mind by answer and
another had indicated his views during the trial. Daily reports were affidavits and by the verbal statements of themselves and their
made by the operatives to one of their employers. counsel. Cooke v. United States, 267 U. S. 517, distinguished.

4. The language used in an opinion must be read in the light of the

Held: issues presented.

(1) That such surveillance of jurors was a criminal contempt, under 5. Where the court decides the fact and the law without the
Jud.Code § 268, on the part of its instigators, although it did not intervention of a jury, the admission of illegal testimony, even if
appear that any operative actually approached or communicated material, is not of itself a ground for reversing the judgment. P. 279
with a juror, or attempted to do so, or that any juror was conscious U. S. 767.
of observation.

(2) To establish misbehavior within the statute, it was not essential

to show some act both known to a juror and probably sufficient to
influence his mind. The reasonable tendency of the acts done was 16. US v. Rumely
to obstruct the honest and fair administration of justice, and this is
the proper criterion. Syllabus

(3) The acts in question were sufficiently near the court to obstruct Respondent was secretary of an organization which, among
the administration of justice, most of them having been within the other things, engaged in the sale of books of a political nature.
courtroom, near the door of the courthouse, or within the city He refused to disclose to a committed of Congress the names of
where the trial was held. P. 279 U. S. 765. those who made bulk purchases of these books for further
distribution, and was convicted under R.S. § 102, as amended,
which provides penalties for refusal to give testimony or to
produce relevant papers "upon any matter" under congressional - Cant find a good brief
inquiry. Under the resolution empowering it to function, the
Committee was" authorized and directed to conduct a study
and investigation of (1) all lobbying activities intended to In United States v. Orman, 486 F.3d 1170, 1174 (9th Cir.
influence, encourage, promote, or retard legislation; and (2) all 2007), in what was clearly a consensual encounter, a police
activities of agencies of the Federal Government intended to officer working off-duty for a shopping mall approached the
influence, encourage, promote, or retard legislation." defendant and asked to speak to him. After the defendant said
"sure," the officer told the defendant he had information the
defendant was carrying a gun and asked if that was true. 486
F.3d at 1172, 1175.
Held: The Committee was without power to exact the
information sought from respondent. Pp. 345 U. S. 42-48. The defendant admitted he had a gun and apologized. Id. at
(a) To construe the resolution as authorizing the Committee to
inquire into all efforts of private individuals to influence public The officer noticed a small bulge under the defendant's shirt
opinion through books and periodicals, however remote the and asked Orman where the gun was located. Id.
radiations of influence which they may exert upon the ultimate
legislative process, would raise doubts of constitutionality in Orman pointed to his waist band and the officer then retrieved
view of the prohibition of the First Amendment. P. 345 U. S. 46. the gun from the defendant. Id.

(b) The phrase "lobbying activities" in the resolution is to be The entire encounter was calm and the defendant was
construed as lobbying in the commonly accepted sense of cooperative.
"representations made directly to the Congress, its members, or The court stated that "reasonable suspicion that Orman was
its committees," and not as extending to attempts "to saturate carrying a gun, which is all that is required for a protective
the thinking of the community." P. 345 U. S. 47. search under Terry, quickly rose to a certainty when Orman
confirmed that he was carrying a gun." Id. at 1176.

(c) The scope of the resolution defining respondent's duty to Although the officer testified that Orman was perfectly cordial,
answer must be ascertained as of the time of his refusal, and the court held that a reasonably prudent man in the officer's
cannot be enlarged by subsequent action of Congress. circumstances would be warranted in retrieving the gun for his
safety. Id.

The court considered the accessibility of the gun to Orman and

the fact that he was standing only inches from the officer. Id.

17. United States vs. Orman, 207 F.2d 148 (Sept. 1953)

Petitioner and two others were summoned to testify before a

congressional investigating committee. One of them refused to
say whether he was or had been a member of the Communist
Party, basing his refusal on "the First and Fifth Amendments,"
as well as "the First Amendment to the Constitution,
supplemented by the Fifth Amendment." Petitioner adopted the
other's statement as his own, and refused to answer the same
question. The committee did not ask him to state more
specifically the ground for his refusal to answer, and did not
specifically overrule his objection or direct him to answer.

Held: in his trial for contempt of Congress under 2 U.S.C. §

192, the District Court should have entered a judgment of
acquittal. Pp. 349 U. S. 156-170.

1. Petitioner's references to the Fifth Amendment sufficiently

invoked his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination.
Pp. 349 U. S. 160-165.

(a) The constitutional guaranty against self-incrimination must

be construed liberally in favor of the right it was intended to
secure -- especially in criminal trials for refusal to answer. Pp.
349 U. S. 161-162.

(b) An answer to the question whether he was a member of the

Communist Party might have tended to incriminate petitioner.
Blau v. United States, 340 U. S. 159. P. 349 U. S. 162.

(c) If an objection to a question is made in any language that a

committee may reasonably be expected to understand as an
attempt to invoke the privilege, it must be respected both by the
committee and by a court in a prosecution under § 192. Pp.
349 U. S. 162-163.
18. Thomas Quinn vs. United States, 349 U.S. 155 (1955)
(d) The mere fact that petitioner also relied on the First
Amendment did not preclude his reliance on the Fifth
Amendment as well. P. 349 U. S. 163. 20. Watkins v. US

(e) Petitioner's references to the Fifth Amendment were

sufficient to put the committee on notice of an apparent claim Syllabus
of the privilege; and it then became incumbent on the
committee either to accept the claim or to ask petitioner Petitioner was convicted of a violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192, which
whether he was, in fact, invoking the privilege. Pp. 349 U. S. makes it a misdemeanor for any person summoned as a
163-165. witness by either House of Congress or any committee thereof
to refuse to answer any question "pertinent to the question
2. On the record in this case, there was not adequate proof of a under inquiry." Summoned to testify before a Subcommittee of
deliberate intentional refusal to answer, which is an essential the House of Representatives Committee on Un-American
element of a violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192. Pp. 349 U. S. 165-170. Activities, petitioner testified freely about his own activities and
(a) This element of the offense, like any other, must be proved associations, but he refused to answer questions as to whether
beyond a reasonable doubt. P. 349 U. S. 115. he had known certain other persons to have been members of
the Communist Party. He based his refusal on the ground that
(b) Unless the witness is clearly apprised that the committee those questions were outside of the proper scope of the
demands his answer notwithstanding his objection, there can Committee's activities, and not relevant to its work. No clear
be no conviction under § 192 for his refusal to answer. Pp. 349 understanding of the "question under inquiry" could be gleaned
U. S. 165-166. from the resolution authorizing the full Committee, the
legislative history thereof, the Committee's practices
(c) There is nothing in the record of the committee hearing from thereunder, the action authorizing the Subcommittee, the
which petitioner could have determined with a reasonable statement of the Chairman at the opening of the hearings or his
degree of certainty that the committee demanded his answer statement in response to petitioner's protest.
despite his objection. Pp. 349 U. S. 166-167.

(d) By the enactment of 2 U.S.C. § 192, Congress did not intend

to dispense with the traditional requirement that the witness Held: Petitioner was not accorded a fair opportunity to
must be clearly apprised that an answer is demanded determine whether he was within his rights in refusing to
notwithstanding his objection. Pp. 349 U. S. 167-170. answer, and his conviction was invalid under the Due Process
Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 354 U. S. 181-216.

19. United States vs. Icardi, 140 F. Supp. 383 (1956

- No digest
(a) The power of Congress to conduct investigations, inherent in (i) There is no congressional power to expose for the sake of
the legislative process, is broad, but it is not unlimited. P. 354 exposure where the predominant result can be only an invasion
U. S. 187. of the private rights of individuals. P. 354 U. S. 200.

(b) Congress has no general authority to expose the private (j) In authorizing an investigation by a committee, it is essential
affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the that the Senate or House should spell out the committee's
functions of Congress. P. 354 U. S. 187. jurisdiction and purpose with sufficient particularity to insure
that compulsory process is used only in furtherance of a
(c) No inquiry is an end in itself; it must be related to, and in legislative purpose. P. 354 U. S. 201.
furtherance of, a legitimate task of Congress. P. 354 U. S. 187.
(k) The resolution authorizing the Un-American Activities
(d) The Bill of Rights is applicable to congressional Committee does not satisfy this requirement, especially when
investigations, as it is to all forms of governmental action. P. read in the light of the practices of the Committee and
354 U. S. 188. subsequent actions of the House of Representatives extending
(e) A congressional investigation is subject to the command that the life of the Committee. Pp. 354 U. S. 201-205.
Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or (l) Every reasonable indulgence of legality must be accorded to
press or assembly. Pp. 354 U. S. 196-197. the actions of a coordinate branch of our Government, but such
(f) When First Amendment rights are threatened, the delegation deference cannot yield to an unnecessary and unreasonable
of power to a congressional committee must be clearly revealed dissipation of precious constitutional freedoms. P. 354 U. S.
in its charter. United States v. Rumely, 345 U. S. 41. P. 354 U. 204.
S. 198. (m) Protected freedoms should not be placed in danger in the
(g) A congressional investigation into individual affairs is invalid absence of a clear determination by the House or Senate that a
if unrelated to any legislative purpose, because it is beyond the particular inquiry is justified by specific legislative need. P. 354
powers conferred upon Congress by the Constitution. Kilbourn U. S. 205.
v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 168. P. 354 U. S. 198. (n) Congressional investigating committees are restricted to the
(h) It cannot simply be assumed that every congressional missions delegated to them -- to acquire certain data to be used
investigation is justified by a public need that overbalances any by the House or Senate in coping with a problem that falls
private rights affected, since to do so would be to abdicate the within its legislative sphere -- and no witness can be compelled
responsibility placed by the Constitution upon the judiciary to to make disclosures on matters outside that area. P. 354 U. S.
insure that Congress does not unjustifiably encroach upon an 206.
individual's right of privacy nor abridge his liberty of speech, (o) When the definition of jurisdictional pertinency is as
press, religion or assembly. Pp. 354 U. S. 198-199. uncertain and wavering as in the case of the Un-American
Activities Committee, it becomes extremely difficult for the
Committee to limit its inquiries to statutory pertinency. P. 354 since it merely paraphrased the authorizing resolution, and
U. S. 206. gave a very general sketch of the past efforts of the Committee.
Pp. 354 U. S. 209-210.
(p) The courts must accord to a defendant indicted under 2
U.S.C. § 192 every right which is guaranteed to defendants in
all other criminal cases, including the right to have available
information revealing the standard of criminality before the (v) Nor was that purpose served by the action of the full
commission of the alleged offense. Pp. 354 U. S. 207-208. Committee in authorizing the creation of the Subcommittee
before which petitioner appeared, since it merely authorized the
(q) Since the statute defines the crime as refusal to answer "any Chairman to appoint subcommittees "for the purpose of
question pertinent to the question under inquiry," part of the performing any and all acts which the Committee as a whole is
standard of criminality is the pertinency of the questions authorized to do." Pp. 354 U. S. 211-212.
propounded to the witness. P. 354 U. S. 208.
(w) On the record in this case, especially in view of the precise
(r) Due process requires that a witness before a congressional questions petitioner was charged with refusing to answer, it
investigating committee should not be compelled to decide, at cannot be said that the "question under inquiry" was
peril of criminal prosecution, whether to answer questions Communist infiltration into labor unions. Pp. 354 U. S. 212-
propounded to him without first knowing the "question under 214.
inquiry" with the same degree of explicitness and clarity that
the Due Process Clause requires in the expression of any (x) Unless the subject matter of the inquiry has been made to
element of a criminal offense. Sinclair v. United States, 279 U. appear with undisputable clarity, it is the duty of the
S. 263. Pp. 354 U. S. 208-209. investigative body, upon objection of the witness on grounds of
pertinency, to state for the record the subject under inquiry at
(s) The authorizing resolution, the remarks of the chairman or that time and the manner in which the propounded questions
members of the committee, or even the nature of the are pertinent thereto. Pp. 354 U. S. 214-215.
proceedings themselves, might make the "question under
inquiry" sufficiently clear to avoid the "vice of vagueness"; but (y) The Chairman's response, when petitioner objected to the
these sources often leave the matter in grave doubt. P. 354 U. questions on grounds of pertinency, was inadequate to convey
S. 209. sufficient information as to the pertinency of the questions to
the "question under inquiry." Pp. 354 U. S. 214-215.
(t) In this case, it is not necessary to pass on the question
whether the authorizing resolution defines the "question under
inquiry" with sufficient clarity, since the Government does not 98 U.S.App.D.C.190, 233 F.2d 681, reversed and remanded.
contend that it could serve that purpose. P. 354 U. S. 209.

(u) The opening statement of the Chairman at the outset of the

hearings here involved is insufficient to serve that purpose,
21. Barenblatt vs. United States, 360 U.S. 109 (1959)


Summoned to testify before a Subcommittee of the House of

Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities, which was
investigating alleged Communist infiltration into the field of
education, petitioner, formerly a graduate student and teaching
fellow at the University of Michigan, refused to answer questions as
to whether he was then or had ever been a member of the
Communist Party. He disclaimed reliance upon the privilege
against self-incrimination, but objected generally to the right of the
Subcommittee to inquire into his "political" and "religious" beliefs
or any "other personal or private affairs" or "associational activities"
upon grounds set forth in a previously prepared memorandum,
which was based on the First, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, the
prohibition against bills of attainder and the doctrine of separation
of powers. For such refusal, he was convicted of a violation of 2
U.S.C. § 192, which makes it a misdemeanor for any person
summoned as a witness by either House of Congress or a
committee thereof to refuse to answer any question pertinent to the
question under inquiry. He was fined and sentenced to
imprisonment for six months.

Held: Petitioner's conviction is sustained. Pp. 360 U. S. 111-134.

1. In the light of the Committee's history and the repeated

extensions of its life, as well as the successive appropriations by
the House of Representatives for the conduct of its activities, its
legislative authority and that of the Subcommittee to conduct the
inquiry under consideration here is unassailable, and House Rule
XI, 83d Congress, which defines the Committee's authority, cannot (b) The investigation here involved was related to a valid legislative
be said to be constitutionally infirm on the score of vagueness. purpose, since Congress has wide power to legislate in the field of
Watkins v. United States, 354 U. S. 178, distinguished. Pp. 360 U. Communist activity in this Country and to conduct appropriate
S. 116-123. investigations in aid thereof. Pp. 360 U. S. 127-129.

(c) Investigatory power in this domain is not to be denied Congress

solely because the field of education is involved, and the record in
(a) Rule XI has a "persuasive gloss of legislative history" which this case does not indicate any attempt by the Committee to
shows beyond doubt that, in pursuance of its legislative concerns inquire into the content of academic lectures or discussions, but
in the domain of "national security," the House of Representatives only to investigate the extent to which the Communist Party had
has clothed the Committee with pervasive authority to investigate succeeded in infiltrating into our educational institutions persons
Communist activities in this country. Pp. 360 U. S. 117-121. and groups committed to furthering the Party's alleged objective of
violent overthrow of the Government. Sweezy v. New Hampshire,
(b) In the light of the legislative history, Rule XI cannot be 354 U. S. 234, distinguished. Pp. 360 U. S. 129-132.
construed so as to exclude the field of education from the
Committee's compulsory authority. Pp. 360 U. S. 121-123. (d) On the record in this case, it cannot be said that the true
objective of the Committee and of the Congress was purely
"exposure," rather than furtherance of a valid legislative purpose.
2. The record in this case refutes petitioner's contention that he Pp. 360 U. S. 132-133.
was not adequately apprised of the pertinency of the (e) The record is barren of other factors which, in themselves, might
Subcommittee's questions to the subject matter of the inquiry. lead to the conclusion that the individual interests at stake were
Watkins v. United States, supra, distinguished. Pp. 360 U. S. 123- not subordinate to those of the Government. P. 360 U. S. 134.

3. On the record in this case, the balance between the individual

and the governmental interests here at stake must be struck in 102 U.S.App.D.C. 217, 252 F.2d 129, affirmed.
favor of the latter, and therefore the provisions of the First
Amendment were not transgressed by the Subcommittee's inquiry
into petitioner's past or present membership in the Communist
Party. Pp. 360 U. S. 125-134.

(a) Where First Amendment rights are asserted to bar governmental

interrogation, resolution of the issue always involves a balancing by
the courts of the competing private and public interests at stake in
the particular circumstances shown. Pp. 360 U. S. 126-127.


On August 5, 2004, former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez,

filed an instant petition raising constitutional issues on the JVA
entered by National Housing Authority and R-II Builders, Inc.

On March 1, 1988, then-President Cory Aquino issued

Memorandum order No. (MO) 161 approving and directing
implementation of the Comprehensive and Integrated Metropolitan
Manila Waste Management Plan. During this time, Smokey
Mountain, a wasteland in Tondo, Manila, are being made residence
of many Filipinos living in a subhuman state.

As presented in MO 161, NHA prepared feasibility studies to turn

the dumpsite into low-cost housing project, thus, Smokey
Mountain Development and Reclamation Project (SMDRP), came
into place. RA 6957 (Build-Operate-Transfer Law) was passed on
July 1990 declaring the importance of private sectors as
contractors in government projects. Thereafter, Aquino proclaimed
MO 415 applying RA 6957 to SMDRP, among others. The same
MO also established EXECOM and TECHCOM in the execution and
evaluation of the plan, respectively, to be assisted by the Public
Estates Authority (PEA).

Notices of public bidding to become NHA’s venture partner for

SMDRP were published in newspapers in 1992, from which R-II
Builders, Inc. (RBI) won the bidding process. Then-President
Ramos authorized NHA to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement
with RBI.
Under the JVA, the project involves the clearing of Smokey On August 27, 2003, the NHA and RBI executed a Memorandum of
Mountain for eventual development into a low cost housing Agreement whereby both parties agreed to terminate the JVA and
complex and industrial/commercial site. RBI is expected to fully subsequent agreements. During this time, NHA reported that 34
finance the development of Smokey Mountain and reclaim 40 temporary housing structures and 21 permanent housing
hectares of the land at the Manila Bay Area. The latter together structures had been turned over by RBI.
with the commercial area to be built on Smokey Mountain will be
owned by RBI as enabling components. If the project is revoked or
terminated by the Government through no fault of RBI or by ISSUES:
mutual agreement, the Government shall compensate RBI for its
actual expenses incurred in the Project plus a reasonable rate of Whether respondents NHA and RBI have been granted the power
return not exceeding that stated in the feasibility study and in the and authority to reclaim lands of the public domain as this power
contract as of the date of such revocation, cancellation, or is vested exclusively in PEA as claimed by petitioner
termination on a schedule to be agreed upon by both parties.
Whether respondents NHA and RBI were given the power and
To summarize, the SMDRP shall consist of Phase I and Phase II. authority by DENR to reclaim foreshore and submerged lands
Phase I of the project involves clearing, levelling-off the dumpsite,
Whether respondent RBI can acquire reclaimed foreshore and
and construction of temporary housing units for the current
submerged lands considered as alienable and outside the
residents on the cleared and levelled site. Phase II involves the
commerce of man
construction of a fenced incineration area for the on-site disposal of
the garbage at the dumpsite. Whether respondent RBI can acquire reclaimed lands when there
was no declaration that said lands are no longer needed for public
Due to the recommendations done by the DENR after evaluations
done, the JVA was amended and restated (now ARJVA) to
accommodate the design changes and additional work to be done Whether there is a law authorizing sale of reclaimed lands
to successfully implement the project. The original 3,500 units of
temporary housing were decreased to 2,992. The reclaimed land as Whether the transfer of reclaimed lands to RBI was done by public
enabling component was increased from 40 hectares to 79 bidding
hectares, which was supported by the issuance of Proclamation No.
Whether RBI, being a private corporation, is barred by the
465 by President Ramos. The revision also provided for the 119-
Constitution to acquire lands of public domain
hectare land as an enabling component for Phase II of the project.
Whether respondents can be compelled to disclose all information
Subsequently, the Clean Air Act was passed by the legislature
related to the SMDRP
which made the establishment of an incinerator illegal, making the
off-site dumpsite at Smokey Mountain necessary. On August 1, Whether the operative fact doctrine applies to the instant position
1998, the project was suspended, to be later reconstituted by
President Estrada in MO No. 33. HELD:
Letter I of Sec. 6 of PD 757 clearly states that the NHA can acquire
property rights and interests and encumber or otherwise dispose of
Executive Order 525 reads that the PEA shall be primarily them as it may deem appropriate.
responsible for integrating, directing, and coordinating all
reclamation projects for and on behalf of the National Government. There is no doubt that respondent NHA conducted a public bidding
This does not mean that it shall be responsible for all. The of the right to become its joint venture partner in the Smokey
requisites for a valid and legal reclamation project are approval by Mountain Project. It was noted that notices were published in
the President (which were provided for by MOs), favourable national newspapers. The bidding proper was done by the Bids
recommendation of PEA (which were seen as a part of its and Awards Committee on May 18, 1992.
recommendations to the EXECOM), and undertaken either by PEA
or entity under contract of PEA or by the National Government RA 6957 as amended by RA 7718 explicitly states that a contractor
Agency (NHA is a government agency whose authority to reclaim can be paid “a portion as percentage of the reclaimed land” subject
lands under consultation with PEA is derived under PD 727 and to the constitutional requirement that only Filipino citizens or
RA 7279). corporation with at least 60% Filipino equity can acquire the same.
In addition, when the lands were transferred to the NHA, these
Notwithstanding the need for DENR permission, the DENR is were considered Patrimonial lands of the state, by which it has the
deemed to have granted the authority to reclaim in the Smokey power to sell the same to any qualified person.
Mountain Project for the DENR is one of the members of the
EXECOM which provides reviews for the project. ECCs and Special This relief must be granted. It is the right of the Filipino people to
Patent Orders were given by the DENR which are exercises of its information on matters of public concerned as stated in Article II,
power of supervision over the project. Furthermore, it was the Sec. 28, and Article III, Sec. 7 of the 1987 Constitution.
President via the abovementioned MOs that originally authorized When the petitioner filed the case, the JVA had already been
the reclamation. It must be noted that the reclamation of lands of terminated by virtue of MOA between RBI and NHA. The properties
public domain is reposed first in the Philippine President. and rights in question after the passage of around 10 years from
The reclaimed lands were classified alienable and disposable via the start of the project’s implementation cannot be disturbed or
MO 415 issued by President Aquino and Proclamation Nos. 39 and questioned. The petitioner, being the Solicitor General at the time
465 by President Ramos. SMDRP was formulated, had ample opportunity to question the
said project, but did not do so. The moment to challenge has
Despite not having an explicit declaration, the lands have been passed.
deemed to be no longer needed for public use as stated in
Proclamation No. 39 that these are to be “disposed to qualified
beneficiaries.” Furthermore, these lands have already been
necessarily reclassified as alienable and disposable lands under the
BOT law.