Primer on the SC Decision in Neri vs.Senate Committee
Primer on the Supreme Court Decision inNeri vs. Senate Committee and its Implications
What is the case of Neri vs. Senate Committee?This case is about the Senate investigation of anomalies concerningthe NBN-ZTE project. During the hearings, former NEDA head Romulo Neri refused to answer certain questions involving his conversationswith President Arroyo on the ground they are covered by executive privilege. When the Senate cited him in contempt and ordered hisarrest, Neri filed a case against the Senate with the Supreme Court.On March 25, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Neri andupheld the claim of executive privilege.
What is “executive privilege”?
It is the right of the President and high-level executive branchofficials to withhold information from Congress, the courts and the public. It is a privilege of confidentiality which applies tocertain types of information of a sensitive character that would beagainst the public interest to disclose. Executive privilege is based on the constitution because it relates to the President’seffective discharge of executive powers. Its ultimate end is to promote public interest and no other.
Is executive privilege absolute?
No. Any claim of executive privilege must be weighed against other interests recognized by the constitution, like the state policy of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest,the right of the people to information on matters of public concern,the accountability of public officers, the power of legislativeinquiry, and the judicial power to secure evidence in deciding cases.
Did the revocation by the President of E.O. 464 on March 6, 2008diminish the concept of executive privilege?
No. Executive privilege may still be invoked despite the President’srevocation of E.O. 464 because it is based on the constitution.
ON THE CONTENTS OF THE SUPREME COURT DECISION:
What events led to the filing of the case before the Supreme Court?