Oct 13, 2021 @ 16:23
Drilon cites Arnault vs Nazareno in justifying detention of Pharmally exec
Senate minority leader, Sen. Franklin M. Drilon on Wednesday expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will uphold the power of the Upper Chamber to detain Pharmally executive Linconn Ong for contempt.
Drilon cited as his legal basis the SC ruling Arnault vs Nazareno, wherein it concurred with the Senate in jailing French lawyer Jean Arnault who refused to identify the person who was overpaid by government in a property deal.
The SC on Tuesday asked the Senate blue ribbon committee and its chairperson Sen. Richard J. Gordon, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, and retired MGen. Rene C. Samonte, Senate sergeant-at-arms, to answer the petition filed by Ong.
They were given 10 days upon receipt of the SC order to file their answers.
Ong, who was ordered arrested by the powerful Senate committee for being evasive during its hearings, has petitioned the SC to declare as unconstitutional his detention, and to order his immediate release.
In a 50-page petition filed thru lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Ong, who is currently detained at the Senate Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms, claimed that he was denied due process when the committee ordered his arrest for contempt.
Specifically, he asked the high court to nullify for being unconstitutional Section 18 of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation under Senate Resolution No. 5 as amended by Senate Resolution No. 145 that punishes for contempt the act of testifying “falsely or evasively.”
Furthermore, Ong urged the high bench to declare unconstitutional Section 6, Article 6 of the Rules of the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation, or popularly known as the blue ribbon committee, for citing in contempt those what it perceived as testifying “falsely or evasively”.
The Senate committee ordered his arrest along with former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang for being “evasive” during their proceedings.
Senator Panfilo Lacson was asking the resource speakers about their involvement in the government’s controversial transaction with Pharmally — a small firm that was awarded P8billion-worth of contracts despite being months-old and having paid-up capital of P625,000 only.
Both Ong and Yang were giving different answers earning the ire of legislators.
The Senate committee has been conducting hearings on alleged irregularities surrounding COVID-19 supplies such as PPEs, face shields, and face masks.