1. SENATE V. ERMITA – 488 SCRA 1 (2006) Sec. 21.

Legislative Investigations
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC
G.R. No. 169777* April 20, 2006 SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by FRANKLIN M. DRILON, in his capacity as Senate President, JUAN M. FLAVIER, in his capacity as Senate President Pro Tempore, FRANCIS N. PANGILINAN, in his capacity as Majority Leader, AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., in his capacity as Minority Leader, SENATORS RODOLFO G. BIAZON, "COMPANERA" PIA S. CAYETANO, JINGGOY EJERCITO ESTRADA, LUISA "LOI" EJERCITO ESTRADA, JUAN PONCE ENRILE, RICHARD J. GORDON, PANFILO M. LACSON, ALFREDO S.LIM, M. A. MADRIGAL, SERGIO OSMENA III, RALPH G. RECTO, and MAR ROXAS,Petitioners, vs. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and anyone acting in his stead and in behalf of the President of the Philippines,Respondents. x-------------------------x G.R. No. 169659 April 20, 2006 BAYAN MUNA represented by DR. REYNALDO LESACA, JR., Rep. SATUR OCAMPO, Rep. CRISPIN BELTRAN, Rep. RAFAEL MARIANO, Rep. LIZA MAZA, Rep. TEODORO CASINO, Rep. JOEL VIRADOR, COURAGE represented by FERDINAND GAITE, and COUNSELS FOR THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTIES (CODAL) represented by ATTY. REMEDIOS BALBIN, Petitioners, vs. EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Respondent. x-------------------------x G.R. No. 169660 April 20, 2006 FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, Petitioner, vs. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, AVELINO J. CRUZ, JR., in his capacity as Secretary of Defense, and GENEROSO S. SENGA, in his capacity as AFP Chief of Staff, Respondents. x-------------------------x G.R. No. 169667 April 20, 2006 ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, INC. (ALG), Petitioner, vs. HON. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, Respondent. x-------------------------x G.R. No. 169834 April 20, 2006 PDP- LABAN, Petitioner, vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, Respondent. x-------------------------x G.R. No. 171246 April 20, 2006 JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, FELICIANO M. BAUTISTA, ROMULO R. RIVERA, JOSE AMOR AMORANDO, ALICIA A. RISOSVIDAL, FILEMON C. ABELITA III, MANUEL P. LEGASPI, J. B. JOVY C. BERNABE, BERNARD L. DAGCUTA, ROGELIO V. GARCIA, and the INTEGRATED BAR FOR THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioners, vs. HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, Respondent.

DECISION CARPIO MORALES, J.: A transparent government is one of the hallmarks of a truly republican state. Even in the early history of republican thought, however, it has been recognized that the head of government may keep certain information confidential in pursuit of the public interest. Explaining the reason for vesting executive power in only one magistrate, a distinguished delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention said: "Decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch will generally characterize the proceedings of one man, in a much more eminent degree than the proceedings of any greater number; and in proportion as the number is increased, these qualities will be diminished." 1

History has been witness, however, to the fact that the power to withhold information lends itself to abuse, hence, the necessity to guard it zealously. The present consolidated petitions for certiorari and prohibition proffer that the President has abused such power by issuing Executive Order No. 464 (E.O. 464) last September 28, 2005. They thus pray for its declaration as null and void for being unconstitutional. In resolving the controversy, this Court shall proceed with the recognition that the issuance under review has come from a co-equal branch of government, which thus entitles it to a strong presumption of constitutionality. Once the challenged order is found to be indeed violative of the Constitution, it is duty-bound to declare it so. For the Constitution, being the highest expression of the sovereign will of the Filipino people, must prevail over any issuance of the government that contravenes its mandates. In the exercise of its legislative power, the Senate of the Philippines, through its various Senate Committees, conducts inquiries or investigations in aid of legislation which call for, inter alia, the attendance of officials and employees of the executive department, bureaus, and offices including those employed in Government Owned and Controlled Corporations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP). On September 21 to 23, 2005, the Committee of the Senate as a whole issued invitations to various officials of the Executive Department for them to appear on September 29, 2005 as resource speakers in a public hearing on the railway project of the North Luzon Railways Corporation with the China National Machinery and Equipment Group (hereinafter North Rail Project). The public hearing was sparked by a privilege speech of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile urging the Senate to investigate the alleged overpricing and other unlawful provisions of the contract covering the North Rail Project. The Senate Committee on National Defense and Security likewise issued invitations 2 dated September 22, 2005 to the following officials of the AFP: the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lt. Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon; Inspector General of the AFP Vice Admiral Mateo M. Mayuga; Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the AFP Rear Admiral Tirso R. Danga; Chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP Brig. Gen. Marlu Q. Quevedo; Assistant Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Brig. Gen. Francisco V. Gudani; and Assistant Commandant, Corps of Cadets of the PMA, Col. Alexander F. Balutan, for them to attend as resource persons in a public hearing scheduled on September 28, 2005 on the following: (1) Privilege Speech of Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., delivered on June 6, 2005 entitled "Bunye has Provided Smoking Gun or has Opened a Can of Worms that Show Massive Electoral Fraud in the Presidential Election of May 2005"; (2) Privilege Speech of Senator Jinggoy E. Estrada delivered on July 26, 2005 entitled "The Philippines as the Wire-Tapping Capital of the World"; (3) Privilege Speech of Senator Rodolfo Biazon delivered on August 1, 2005 entitled "Clear and Present Danger"; (4) Senate Resolution No. 285 filed by Senator Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal – Resolution Directing the Committee on National Defense and Security to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, and in the National Interest, on the Role of the Military in the So-called "Gloriagate Scandal"; and (5) Senate Resolution No. 295 filed by Senator Biazon – Resolution Directing the Committee on National Defense and Security to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Wire-Tapping of the President of the Philippines. Also invited to the above-said hearing scheduled on September 28 2005 was the AFP Chief of Staff, General Generoso S. Senga who, by letter 3 dated September 27, 2005, requested for its postponement "due to a pressing operational situation that demands [his utmost personal

Vasquez G. 2. On September 28. 23 May 1995).R. . Further. Executive privilege covers all confidential or classified information between the President and the public officers covered by this executive order.R. 2005 a letter 6 from the President of the North Luzon Railways Corporation Jose L. 2005 "respectfully request[ing] for the postponement of the hearing [regarding the NorthRail project] to which various officials of the Executive Department have been invited" in order to "afford said officials ample time and opportunity to study and prepare for the various issues so that they may better enlighten the Senate Committee on its investigation. 2005. the President issued E. Presidential Commission on Good Government. however. No.attention" while "some of the invited AFP officers are currently attending to other urgent operational matters. Cortes. diplomatic and other national security matters which in the interest of national security should not be divulged (Almonte vs. Appearance by Heads of Departments Before Congress. Vasquez. Vasquez. No. . Military. No. G. 95367. G. took effect immediately. and For Other Purposes. The salient provisions of the Order are as follows: SECTION 1. Nature. – (a) Nature and Scope. No. Senate President Franklin M. Chavez v."7 which. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing." Senate President Drilon likewise received on September 28. Section 22 of the Constitution and to implement the Constitutional provisions on the separation of powers between co-equal branches of the government. Jr.R. Drilon received from Executive Secretary Eduardo R. pursuant to Section 6 thereof. the appearance shall only be conducted in executive session.O. Chavez v. G. 95367. Scope and Coverage of Executive Privilege. 133250. 23 May 1995." Senate President Drilon. including: Conversations and correspondence between the President and the public official covered by this executive order (Almonte vs. 95367.The rule of confidentiality based on executive privilege is fundamental to the operation of government and rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution (Almonte vs. all heads of departments of the Executive Branch of the government shall secure the consent of the President prior to appearing before either House of Congress. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides that Public Officials and Employees shall not use or divulge confidential or classified information officially known to them by reason of their office and not made available to the public to prejudice the public interest. Adherence to the Rule on Executive Privilege and Respect for the Rights of Public Officials Appearing in Legislative Inquiries in Aid of Legislation Under the Constitution. G. – In accordance with Article VI. Public Estates Authority. 9 December 1998). 23 May 1995. "Ensuring Observance of the Principle of Separation of Powers. 2005. wrote 5 Executive Secretary Ermita that the Senators "are unable to accede to [his request]" as it "was sent belatedly" and "[a]ll preparations and arrangements as well as notices to all resource persons were completed [the previous] week. Republic Act No. No. SECTION. requesting that the hearing on the NorthRail project be postponed or cancelled until a copy of the report of the UP Law Center on the contract agreements relative to the project had been secured. 464. 9 July 2002).R.R." On September 28. Ermita a letter 4 dated September 27. 130716.

Gen. Perez. and Such other officers as may be determined by the President. Senior national security officials who in the judgment of the National Security Adviser are covered by the executive privilege. Metro Rail Transit Authority Administrator Roberto Lastimoso. and another letter 8 informing him "that officials of the Executive Department invited to appear at the meeting [regarding the NorthRail project] will not be able to attend the same without the consent of the President. then Presidential Legal Counsel Merceditas Gutierrez. No. Brig. Chairperson of the Committee on National Defense and Security. in response to the invitations sent to the following government officials: Light Railway Transit Authority Administrator Melquiades Robles. Gen. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Also on September 28. 2005. Department of . Executive Secretary Ermita. Senate President Drilon received from Executive Secretary Ermita a copy of E. 464]" and that "said officials have not secured the required consent from the President." On even date which was also the scheduled date of the hearing on the alleged wiretapping. thru the Secretary of National Defense. No. (b) Who are covered." Despite the communications received from Executive Secretary Ermita and Gen. sent letter of regrets. Gudani and Col. G.O.R. 130716. Department of Justice (DOJ) Chief State Counsel Ricardo V. Presidential Commission on Good Government. For defying President Arroyo’s order barring military personnel from testifying before legislative inquiries without her approval. 9 December 1998).Information between inter-government agencies prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements (Chavez v. 464. Generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of Staff are covered by the executive privilege. As to the NorthRail project hearing scheduled on September 29. informing him "that per instruction of [President Arroyo]. – The following are covered by this executive order: Senior officials of executive departments who in the judgment of the department heads are covered by the executive privilege. 9 July 2002). with only Col. the investigation scheduled by the Committee on National Defense and Security pushed through. Matters affecting national security and public order (Chavez v.O. 464. 130716. Discussion in close-door Cabinet meetings (Chavez v. Balutan were relieved from their military posts and were made to face court martial proceedings. Senga. Gen. 2005.R. citing E. Gudani among all the AFP officials invited attending. 133250. pursuant to [E. Balutan and Brig.O. Public Estates Authority. SECTION 3. G. Senga sent a letter 9 to Senator Biazon. – All public officials enumerated in Section 2 (b) hereof shall secure prior consent of the President prior to appearing before either House of Congress to ensure the observance of the principle of separation of powers. 9 December 1998). No. G.R. Presidential Commission on Good Government. adherence to the rule on executive privilege and respect for the rights of public officials appearing in inquiries in aid of legislation. no officer of the [AFP] is authorized to appear before any Senate or Congressional hearings without seeking a written approval from the President" and "that no approval has been granted by the President to any AFP officer to appear before the public hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security scheduled [on] 28 September 2005. Appearance of Other Public Officials Before Congress. Philippine National Police (PNP) officers with rank of chief superintendent or higher and such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by the executive privilege.

et al. were filed before this Court challenging the constitutionality of E. Satur Ocampo. Courage alleges that the tenure of its members in public office is predicated on.O. 464.O. it has legal standing to institute the petition to enforce its constitutional right to information on matters of public concern.R. No.O. 464 . all claiming to have standing to file the suit because of the transcendental importance of the issues they posed. and threatened by.12 (ALG). 169667. On October 11.R. Courage. Bayan Muna alleges that E. In G. docketed as G. and Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL). 2005.O.O.O. democracy and peace. that respondent Executive Secretary Ermita. as it has already sustained the same with its continued enforcement since it directly interferes with and impedes the valid exercise of the Senate’s powers and functions and conceals information of great public interest and concern.R. 169659. alleging that as a coalition of 17 legal resource non-governmental organizations engaged in developmental lawyering and work with the poor and marginalized sectors in different parts of the country. docketed as G. prays in his petition that E. DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza.O. filed its petition for certiorari and prohibition. Joel Virador and Teodoro Casino. Thus. 464 be declared unconstitutional. claiming that his constitutional rights as a citizen.O. 169660. pray. 464 be declared null and void for being unconstitutional. No. 2005. 464 infringes on their rights and impedes them from fulfilling their respective obligations. allege that E. PDP-Laban. their submission to the requirements of E. petitioner Alternative Law Groups. 464 should they be summoned by Congress. petitioners claim that E. 464 infringes on its right as a political party entitled to participate in governance. alleging that it has a vital interest in the resolution of the issue of the validity of E.R.O. a group of lawyers dedicated to the promotion of justice. Rafael Mariano.R. for certiorari and prohibition. Liza Maza. 169659. that said order be declared null and void for being unconstitutional and that respondent Executive Secretary Ermita be ordered to cease from implementing it. 464. alleging that it is affected by the challenged E. Neri.O. Petitioner Senate of the Philippines. 464. in their petition that E. an organization of government employees. docketed as G.O. Chavez. petitioners party-list Bayan Muna. and as an organization of citizens of the Philippines and a part of the general public.Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Undersecretary Guiling Mamonding. Inc. be prohibited from imposing. 464 for it stands to suffer imminent and material injury. taxpayer and law practitioner. Narciso Abaya and Secretary Romulo L. House of Representatives Members Satur Ocampo. Nos. 169777 and prays that E. Additionally. 464. and threatening to impose sanctions on officials who appear before Congress due to congressional summons. 464 infringes on their rights and duties as members of Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight functions in the implementation of laws. three petitions.11 On October 3.R. a registered political party with members duly elected into the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives.O. a right which was denied to the public by E. On October 14. 2005. No. petitioner Francisco I. Philippine National Railways General Manager Jose Serase II. filed a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition. 464 be declared null and void for being unconstitutional. and 169667. In G. 464. Crispin Beltran. in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Arroyo. and their rights to information and to transparent governance are threatened by the imposition of E. Bases Conversion Development Authority Chairperson Gen. 10 NorthRail President Cortes sent personal regrets likewise citing E.O. are affected by the enforcement of E. 13 prays.O. and CODAL alleges that its members have a sworn duty to uphold the rule of law. No. In G. Monetary Board Member Juanita Amatong. 169834. 169660. No.

Senga replied. 2006.O. Art.O. and (2) whether E. On February 13. IV. 171246. 1. The procedural issue of whether there is an actual case or controversy that calls for judicial review was not taken up. th[e] Headquarters requested for a clearance from the President to allow [them] to appear before the public hearing" and that "they will attend once [their] request is approved by the President. Art. and pray that E.O. filed their petition for certiorari and prohibition. and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines as the official organization of all Philippine lawyers. Bunye. Sec. 2006. on its face. and (d) the investigation on the Venable contract. Gicana. 2006 was cancelled. Sec. 2006. During the February 13. 2005 but most of them failed to attend. 16. Art. 464. 7. however. 21. enforcing. Secretary Bunye was allowed to attend by Executive Secretary Ermita. III.19 DOJ Secretary Raul M. Senga for him and other military officers to attend the hearing on the alleged wiretapping scheduled on February 10. Gen. Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. XIII. by letter14 dated February 6. Art. 2005 budget hearing. and (2) assuming that it is not. 464. All the petitions pray for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining respondents from implementing. 464 is. VI. and observing E.16 In another investigation conducted jointly by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Blue Ribbon Committee on the alleged mismanagement and use of the fertilizer fund under the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani program of the Department of Agriculture (DA). several Cabinet officials were invited to the hearings scheduled on October 5 and 26. however. Sec. Art. Corpus 21 communicated their inability to attend due to lack of appropriate clearance from the President pursuant to E. as taxpayers. it is unconstitutional as applied in four instances. namely: (a) the so called Fertilizer scam. 464. Art. Cadiz and the incumbent members of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.R. 4. particularly in the conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation and transcendental issues need to be resolved to avert a constitutional crisis between the executive and legislative branches of the government. In the budget hearings set by the Senate on February 8 and 13. DA Undersecretary Belinda Gonzales." As none of those invited appeared. 2006. by letter 15 dated February 8.O. 2006. the parties were directed to submit their respective memoranda. 22. VI. Jose Anselmo I. Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Executive Director Norlito R. 28. Sec.because it hampers its legislative agenda to be implemented through its members in Congress. the parties were instructed to discuss it in their respective memoranda. 22 . XI. Senator Biazon reiterated his invitation to Gen. instead. Gonzalez20 and Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Marius P.O. Meanwhile. Sec. unconstitutional. III. No.O. Sec. Sec. (b) the NorthRail investigation (c) the Wiretapping activity of the ISAFP. DA Assistant Secretary Felix Jose Montes. the following substantive issues were ventilated: (1) whether respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in implementing E. 464 violates the following provisions of the Constitution: Art. and Art. all invoking their constitutional right to be informed on matters of public interest. the hearing on February 10. In the oral arguments on the petitions conducted on February 21. 464 prior to its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. II. that "[p]ursuant to Executive Order No. paying particular attention to the following propositions: (1) that E. 464. 464 be declared null and void. 2005.17 and those from the Department of Budget and Management18 having invoked E. After the conclusion of the oral arguments. docketed as G. 1.O. Sec. November 24 and December 12.

Sec. ascertainment of whether the requisites for a valid exercise of the Court’s power of judicial review are present is in order. III. Sec. 2006. and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case. 16966725 and G. subsequently filed a manifestation 28 dated March 14. Sec. otherwise stated. VI. 464 prior to its publication in a newspaper of general circulation. have not shown any specific prerogative.O. 2006 that it would no longer file its memorandum in the interest of having the issues resolved soonest.R.O. VI. Petitioners Bayan Muna et al. 16 36 33 Art. and 3. No. Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution. the power of judicial review is subject to limitations. 464 contravenes the power of inquiry vested in Congress. Sec. 169660 23 and G. VI. after their motion for extension to file memorandum27 was granted. discussion of the rest of the requisites shall be omitted. Sec. 435 Art. 16977724 filed their memoranda on March 7.Petitioners in G.29 Petitioners submit that E. Petitioners in G. No. assert that the allegations in G. 169659. on the other hand. 464. STANDING Respondents. direct injury as a result of its enforcement. 2006. XI.O. Sec. 16983426 filed theirs the next day or on March 8.O. Essential requisites for judicial review Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of E. 2006 for the dismissal of the petitions for lack of merit. 734 Art. (2) the person challenging the act must have standing to challenge the validity of the subject act or issuance. there being no . 169659. Nos..R. Sec. power. pray in their consolidated memorandum38 on March 13.R.O. 2.R. Sec. and privilege of the House of Representatives which had been effectively impaired by E.R. No. No. 2837 Respondents Executive Secretary Ermita et al. 464 violates the following constitutional provisions: Art. were brought to vindicate the constitutional duty of the Senate or its different committees to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation or in the exercise of its oversight functions. he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained. 171246 did not file any memorandum. 169660 and 169667 make it clear that they. No. Whether E. 464 violates the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. The Court synthesizes the ISSUES to be resolved as follows: 1. No. II. Whether E.39 Except with respect to the requisites of standing and existence of an actual case or controversy where the disagreement between the parties lies. while those in G. to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power. (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity. 1 Art. 2231 Art. 132 Art. Whether respondents have committed grave abuse of discretion when they implemented E. adverting to the non-appearance of several officials of the executive department in the investigations called by the different committees of the Senate. 464. They maintain that Representatives Ocampo et al. or will sustain. III.R. prompting this Court to issue a Resolution reprimanding them.R. through the Solicitor General. in G.O. 2130 Art. XIII.

O. the absence of any claim that an investigation called by the House of Representatives or any of its committees was aborted due to the implementation of E.41 With regard to the petition filed by the Senate.47 In the same vein.O.mention of any investigation called by the House of Representatives or any of its committees which was aborted due to the implementation of E. respondents argue that in the absence of a personal or direct injury by reason of the issuance of E.O. 464. 464. 464 notwithstanding. the Senate. 43 respondents assert that to be considered a proper party. 46 Verily. 464.O. passing on the standing of their co-petitioners Courage and Codal is rendered unnecessary. Joel Virador (Bayan Muna). Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis). As for Bayan Muna’s alleged interest as a party-list representing the marginalized and underrepresented. E. 464. likewise meets the standing requirement as it obtained three seats in the House of Representatives in the 2004 elections and is. one must have a personal and substantial interest in the case. Indeed. legislators have standing to maintain inviolate the prerogative. 464. the ALG which claims to be an organization of citizens. such that he has sustained or will sustain direct injury due to the enforcement of E. respondents contend that such interest falls short of that required to confer standing on them as parties "injured-in-fact. therefore.O.49 In filing their respective petitions. respondents contend that Chavez may not claim an interest as a taxpayer for the implementation of E. Ongpin 42 and Valmonte v. and the incumbent members of the IBP Board of Governors and the IBP in behalf of its lawyer . entitled to participate in the legislative process consonant with the declared policy underlying the party list system of affording citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. and that of the other petitioner groups and individuals who profess to have standing as advocates and defenders of the Constitution. Invoking this Court’s ruling in National Economic Protectionism Association v. has a substantial and direct interest over the outcome of the controversy and is the proper party to assail the constitutionality of E. the Senate and its individual members are not the proper parties to assail the constitutionality of E. it being sufficient that a claim is made that E.O.O. 464.O. Teodoro Casino (Bayan Muna). Bayan Muna. 464 infringes on their constitutional rights and duties as members of Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight functions in the implementation of laws. have the standing to file their petitions. allegedly stifles the ability of the members of Congress to access information that is crucial to law-making. The national political party. including its individual members.O."40 Respecting petitioner Chavez.O. 464 does not involve the exercise of taxing or spending power. powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in their office and are allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which they claim infringes their prerogatives as legislators. Crispin Beltran (Anakpawis). however.44 That the Senate of the Philippines has a fundamental right essential not only for intelligent public decision-making in a democratic system. 464. but more especially for sound legislation 45 is not disputed. Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. and Liza Maza (Gabriela) are allowed to sue to question the constitutionality of E.48 As Bayan Muna and Representatives Ocampo et al. party-list representatives Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna). Chavez. organizations and parties who lack well-defined political constituencies to contribute to the formulation and enactment of legislation that will benefit the nation.

53 this Court held that when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right. the interest of the petitioner in assailing the constitutionality of laws. In Franciso v. there being no showing that President Arroyo has actually withheld her consent or prohibited the appearance of the invited officials. The Court finds respondents’ assertion that the President has not withheld her consent or prohibited the appearance of the officials concerned immaterial in determining the existence of an actual case or controversy insofar as E. 464.O. and at best is only a "generalized interest" which it shares with the rest of the political parties. merely communicated to the Senate that they have not yet secured the consent of the President. and that such apprehension is not sufficient for challenging the validity of E. and other regulations.O. For it to be accorded standing on the ground of transcendental importance. asserting that the right to information. and (3) the lack of any party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the questions being raised. Its allegation that E.R.O. petitioner PDP-Laban is bereft of standing to file its petition. PDP-Laban’s alleged interest as a political party does not suffice to clothe it with legal standing.55 In fine. orders. 464 does not require either a deliberate withholding of consent or an express prohibition issuing from the President in order to bar officials from appearing before Congress. they citing the absence of the executive officials invited by the Senate to its hearings after the issuance of E. Concrete injury. it asseverates that it is clothed with legal standing in view of the transcendental issues raised in its petition which this Court needs to resolve in order to avert a constitutional crisis.O. it must establish (1) the character of the funds (that it is public) or other assets involved in the case.O. . however. is essential to the effective exercise of other constitutional rights51 and to the maintenance of the balance of power among the three branches of the government through the principle of checks and balances. presidential decrees. Actual Case or Controversy Petitioners assert that an actual case exists. curtailed and violated by E.50 invoke their constitutional right to information on matters of public concern. As for petitioner PDP-Laban. not that the President prohibited their attendance. 464. 54 The first and last determinants not being present as no public funds or assets are involved and petitioners in G. respondents claim that the instruction not to attend without the President’s consent was based on its role as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.56 These officials. the mere fact that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest. 464. particularly those on the NorthRail project and the wiretapping controversy. is that indispensable element of a dispute which serves in part to cast it in a form traditionally capable of judicial resolution.57 Specifically with regard to the AFP officers who did not attend the hearing on September 28. For E. House of Representatives. (2) the presence of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or instrumentality of the government.members.O.52 It is well-settled that when suing as a citizen. Respondents counter that there is no case or controversy.O. 464 is concerned. whether actual or threatened. 2005. 169777 and 169659 have direct and specific interests in the resolution of the controversy. 464 hampers its legislative agenda is vague and uncertain. 464. not on E. Nos. Respondents thus conclude that the petitions merely rest on an unfounded apprehension that the President will abuse its power of preventing the appearance of officials before Congress. must be direct and personal. they claim.

in the latter.59 . who was considered a leading witness in the controversy.O. 464 E. is co-extensive with the power to legislate. it would be sheer abandonment of duty if this Court would now refrain from passing on the constitutionality of E. deprives Congress of the information in the possession of these officials. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.O. The 1935 Constitution did not contain a similar provision. Indeed. such power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be implied. Constitutionality of E. so some means of compulsion is essential to obtain what is needed.60 The matters which may be a proper subject of legislation and those which .O. 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.As the implementation of the challenged order has already resulted in the absence of officials invited to the hearings of petitioner Senate of the Philippines. 464. in Arnault v. was called to testify thereon by the Senate. . Nazareno. and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information – which is not infrequently true – recourse must be had to others who do possess it. Upholding the Senate’s power to punish Arnault for contempt. the Court therein ruled. (Underscoring supplied) This provision is worded exactly as Section 8 of Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution except that. 58 a case decided in 1950 under that Constitution. to the extent that it bars the appearance of executive officials before Congress. by resolution of the Senate. 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. Arnault. it vests the power of inquiry in the unicameral legislature established therein – the Batasang Pambansa – and its committees. is in order. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) That this power of inquiry is broad enough to cover officials of the executive branch may be deduced from the same case. he was. To resolve the question of whether such withholding of information violates the Constitution. . Experience has shown that mere requests for such information are often unavailing. otherwise known as the power of inquiry. and also that information which is volunteered is not always accurate or complete. Nonetheless. The power of inquiry The Congress power of inquiry is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution which reads: SECTION 21. consideration of the general power of Congress to obtain information. The power of inquiry. Arnault involved a Senate investigation of the reportedly anomalous purchase of the Buenavista and Tambobong Estates by the Rural Progress Administration. the power of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. it would make no sense to wait for any further event before considering the present case ripe for adjudication. detained for contempt. the Court already recognized that the power of inquiry is inherent in the power to legislate. On account of his refusal to answer the questions of the senators on an important point. In other words. 464. this Court held: Although there is no provision in the Constitution expressly investing either House of Congress with power to make investigations and exact testimony to the end that it may exercise its legislative functions advisedly and effectively.

the Court found that the Senate investigation of the government transaction involved in Arnault was a proper exercise of the power of inquiry. it would be incongruous to hold that the power of inquiry does not extend to executive officials who are the most familiar with and informed on executive operations." Since this term figures prominently in the challenged order. In such instances. depending on the particulars of each case. resulting in palpable violations of the rights guaranteed to members of the executive department under the Bill of Rights. It may thus be subjected to judicial review pursuant to the Court’s certiorari powers under Section 1. along with the usual indication of the subject of inquiry and the questions relative to and in furtherance thereof. one possible way for Congress to avoid such a result as occurred in Bengzon is to indicate in its invitations to the public officials concerned. These abuses are. Section 21 also mandates that the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries be respected. of course. there are still recognized exemptions to the power of inquiry. The provision requires that the inquiry be done in accordance with the Senate or House’s duly published rules of procedure. Article VIII of the Constitution. Even where the inquiry is in aid of legislation. and thus beyond the constitutional power of Congress. Nonetheless." however. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. is a proper subject for investigation. Such inquiry could not usurp judicial functions. Thus. Given such statement in its invitations. Article VI likewise establishes crucial safeguards that proscribe the legislative power of inquiry. the Court held. no less susceptible to abuse than executive or judicial power. upon the proper suit filed by the persons affected." is grounded on the necessity of information in the legislative process. even if they belong to the executive branch.61 the inquiry itself might not properly be in aid of legislation. necessarily implying the constitutional infirmity of an inquiry conducted without duly published rules of procedure. remediable before the courts. Section 21. as noted in Bengzon v. As discussed in Arnault. in theory. the possible needed statute which prompted the need for the inquiry. "with process to enforce it. none appearing to obtain at present. being a legitimate subject for legislation. Congress has the right to that information and the power to compel the disclosure thereof. the right of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is. wherein a clear pattern of abuse of the legislative power of inquiry might be established. by parity of reasoning. there would be less room for speculation on the part of the person invited on whether the inquiry is in aid of legislation. the power of inquiry. "also involved government agencies created by Congress and officers whose positions it is within the power of Congress to regulate or even abolish. or to any person for that matter. As evidenced by the American experience during the so-called "McCarthy era. there may be exceptional circumstances. If the information possessed by executive officials on the operation of their offices is necessary for wise legislation on that subject. an imposition that obligates Congress to adhere to the guarantees in the Bill of Rights. Parenthetically. which exemptions fall under the rubric of "executive privilege. the transaction. attempts by the Executive Branch to forestall these abuses may be accorded judicial sanction. it being mentioned in its provisions.may be a proper subject of investigation are one. For one. Besides being related to the expenditure of public funds of which Congress is the guardian. its preambular . It follows that the operation of government." Since Congress has authority to inquire into the operations of the executive branch.

nonetheless.S." 64 Similarly. executive officials have claimed a variety of privileges to resist disclosure of information the confidentiality of which they felt was crucial to fulfillment of the unique role and responsibilities of the executive branch of our government. Rozell defines it as "the right of the President and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Congress.62 and in its very title. it is best understood in light of how it has been defined and used in the legal literature of the United States. Schwartz defines executive privilege as "the power of the Government to withhold information from the public. that is."65 Executive privilege is. exempts the executive from disclosure requirements applicable to the ordinary citizen or organization where such exemption is necessary to the discharge of highly important executive responsibilities involved in maintaining governmental operations. in fact. Tribe explains. those documents reflecting the frank expression necessary in intra-governmental advisory and deliberative communications. It has been used even prior to the promulgation of the 1986 Constitution. is the state secrets privilege invoked by U. thus: Since the beginnings of our nation. This privilege." it may be more accurate to speak of executive privileges "since presidential refusals to furnish information may be actuated by any of at least three distinct kinds of considerations. not a clear or unitary concept. or the privilege of the Government not to disclose the identity of persons who furnish information of violations of law to officers charged with the enforcement of that law. a discussion of executive privilege is crucial for determining the constitutionality of E. and the Congress. on the ground that the information is of such nature that its disclosure would subvert crucial military or diplomatic objectives.70 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) . in the context of either judicial or legislative investigations. 68 Tribe’s comment is supported by the ruling in In re Sealed Case. the courts. the courts. Executive privilege The phrase "executive privilege" is not new in this jurisdiction. comments that while it is customary to employ the phrase "executive privilege. and extends not only to military and diplomatic secrets but also to documents integral to an appropriate exercise of the executive’ domestic decisional and policy making functions.O.67 Tribe. based on the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. x x x"69 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The entry in Black’s Law Dictionary on "executive privilege" is similarly instructive regarding the scope of the doctrine. 66 It has encompassed claims of varying kinds. and ultimately the public. Presidents. 464. The courts have also granted the executive a right to withhold the identity of government informers in some circumstances and a qualified right to withhold information related to pending investigations. recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated. beginning with Washington. and may be asserted. a generic privilege for internal deliberations has been said to attach to intragovernmental documents reflecting advisory opinions.63 Being of American origin. Finally. with differing degrees of success." One variety of the privilege. Another variety is the informer’s privilege.clauses. Courts ruled early that the executive had a right to withhold documents that might reveal military or state secrets.

Supreme Court in Nixon. Court held that while there is no explicit reference to a privilege of confidentiality in the U.S. has all the values to which we accord deference for the privacy of all citizens and. Ruling that the balance favored the President. which involve claims of executive privilege against Congress are rare. objective. the right of the people to information.S.77Almonte used the term in reference to the same privilege subject of Nixon. rejected the President’s claim of privilege. Notably. the Court was careful to clarify that it was not there addressing the issue of claims of privilege in a civil litigation or against congressional demands for information. Cases in the U. 75 Anticipating the balancing approach adopted by the U. 74 However. the doctrine of executive privilege was recognized by this Court in Almonte v. The Court. and even blunt or harsh opinions in Presidential decision-making. as expressly stated in the decision. beginning with President Washington’s refusal to turn over treaty negotiation records to the House of Representatives. The claim of privilege was based on the President’s general interest in the confidentiality of his conversations and correspondence. in a case decided earlier in the same year as Nixon. It quoted the following portion of the Nixon decision which explains the basis for the privilege: "The expectation of a President to the confidentiality of his conversations and correspondences. like the claim of confidentiality of judicial deliberations. it is constitutionally based to the extent that it relates to the effective discharge of a President’s powers. 73 Despite frequent assertion of the privilege to deny information to Congress. the Court of Appeals weighed the public interest protected by the claim of privilege against the interest that would be served by disclosure to the Committee. These are the considerations justifying a presumptive privilege for Presidential communications.That a type of information is recognized as privileged does not. 76 In this jurisdiction.S. the Court declined to enforce the subpoena. In issue in that case was the validity of President Nixon’s claim of executive privilege against a subpoena issued by a district court requiring the production of certain tapes and documents relating to the Watergate investigations. the Court recognized that there are certain types of information which the government may withhold from the public. Constitution. recognized the President’s privilege over his conversations against a congressional subpoena.78 Nonetheless. nonetheless. The privilege is fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution x x x " (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Almonte involved a subpoena duces tecum issued by the Ombudsman against the therein petitioners. is the necessity for protection of the public interest in candid. for example. the U. The U. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.S. Supreme Court has never adjudicated the issue. Vasquez. that executive privilege may be claimed against citizens’ demands for information. thus acknowledging. necessarily mean that it would be considered privileged in all instances. 72 decided in 1974.S. Nixon.S. however. For in determining the validity of a claim of privilege. v. the question that must be asked is not only whether the requested information falls within one of the traditional privileges. in substance if not in name. added to those values. but also whether that privilege should be honored in a given procedural setting. ruling that the privilege must be balanced against the public interest in the fair administration of criminal justice.71 The leading case on executive privilege in the United States is U. the U. . A President and those who assist him must be free to explore alternatives in the process of shaping policies and making decisions and to do so in a way many would be unwilling to express except privately. It did not involve.S.

O. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing. as the rules of each House shall provide. however. made the determination that they are. appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions. is recognized only in relation to certain types of information of a sensitive character. SECTION 22. whether asserted against Congress. Validity of Section 1 Section 1 is similar to Section 3 in that both require the officials covered by them to secure the consent of the President prior to appearing before Congress. Rather. there is no reference to executive privilege at all. Executive privilege. and discussions in closeddoor Cabinet meetings. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. The heads of departments may upon their own initiative. both in the United States and in this jurisdiction." 80 The same case held that closed-door Cabinet meetings are also a recognized limitation on the right to information." 82 by which the Court meant Presidential conversations. the appearance shall be conducted in executive session. PCGG. It also held that information on military and diplomatic secrets and those affecting national security. or upon the request of either House. diplomatic and other national security matters. a claim thereof may be valid or not depending on the ground invoked to justify it and the context in which it is made. In fact. There are significant differences between the two provisions." As the following excerpt of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission shows. and information on investigations of crimes by law enforcement agencies before the prosecution of the accused were exempted from the right to information. Similarly. From the above discussion on the meaning and scope of executive privilege. 81 the Court ruled that the right to information does not extend to matters recognized as "privileged information under the separation of powers. Determining the validity of Section 1 thus requires an examination of the meaning of Section 22 of Article VI. Noticeably absent is any recognition that executive officials are exempt from the duty to disclose information by the mere fact of being executive officials. Further. 464. the extraordinary character of the exemptions indicates that the presumption inclines heavily against executive secrecy and in favor of disclosure. or the public. but may cover matters related thereto. with the consent of the President. It does not. in Chavez v. unlike also Section 3. unlike Section 3.In Chavez v. the framers were aware that these two provisions involved distinct functions of Congress. correspondences. through the challenged order. require a prior determination by any official whether they are covered by E. the courts. While executive privilege is a constitutional concept. Public Estates Authority. the required prior consent under Section 1 is grounded on Article VI. a clear principle emerges. Indeed. Section 1 specifically applies to department heads. the coverage of department heads under Section 1 is not made to depend on the department heads’ possession of any information which might be covered by executive privilege. Section 22 which provides for the question hour must be interpreted vis-à-vis Section 21 which provides for the power of either House of Congress to "conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.79 the Court held that this jurisdiction recognizes the common law holding that there is a "governmental privilege against public disclosure with respect to state secrets regarding military. which constrain this Court to discuss the validity of these provisions separately. The President herself has. . in marked contrast to Section 3 vis-à-vis Section 2. Section 22 of the Constitution on what has been referred to as the question hour.

Actually. he can be held in contempt of the House. The reference to Commissioner Suarez bears noting. The Question Hour is closely related with the legislative power. The appearance of the members of . And so we put Question Hour as Section 31. Does the gentleman confirm this. I noticed that members of the Cabinet cannot be compelled anymore to appear before the House of Representatives or before the Senate. Mr. whereas. a Question Hour is not actually a power in terms of its own lawmaking power because in Legislative Inquiry. THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. MR. GUINGONA. While attendance was meant to be discretionary in the question hour. I hope Commissioner Davide will consider this. GUINGONA. Commissioner Davide. Jamir). What does the committee say? MR. far from the provision on inquiries in aid of legislation. under which anybody for that matter. DAVIDE. Commissioner Davide is recognized. So clearly was this distinction conveyed to the members of the Commission that the Committee on Style. which is Legislative Inquiry. that is allowed and their presence can be had under Section 21.83 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) A distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of legislation and the question hour. We confirm that. it should follow Legislative Inquiries. We usually invite them. I want to be clarified on a statement made by Commissioner Suarez when he said that the fact that the Cabinet ministers may refuse to come to the House of Representatives or the Senate [when requested under Section 22] does not mean that they need not come when they are invited or subpoenaed by the committee of either House when it comes to inquiries in aid of legislation or congressional investigation. because Section 20 refers only to what was originally the Question Hour.net MR. I ask Commissioner Maambong to reply. it was compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. and it is precisely as a complement to or a supplement of the Legislative Inquiry. [speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Style] We now go. THE PRESIDING OFFICER. DAVIDE. but if they do not come and it is a congressional investigation. MAAMBONG. precisely in recognition of this distinction. may be summoned and if he refuses. MAAMBONG. either in aid of legislation or in congressional investigations. it is actually a power of Congress in terms of its own lawmaking. whereas. I propose that instead of putting it as Section 31. MR. later moved the provision on question hour from its original position as Section 20 in the original draft down to Section 31. Mr. Section 21 would refer specifically to inquiries in aid of legislation. Madam President. I have only one reaction to the Question Hour. it is in aid of legislation. Presiding Officer. we usually issue subpoenas. Madam President. I have a particular problem in this regard.|avvphi|. to give his reaction. Madam President? MR. we considered that previously when we sequenced this but we reasoned that in Section 21. Presiding Officer. to the Article on Legislative and may I request the chairperson of the Legislative Department. because in our experience in the Regular Batasang Pambansa – as the Gentleman himself has experienced in the interim Batasang Pambansa – one of the most competent inputs that we can put in our committee deliberations. This gave rise to the following exchange during the deliberations: MR. x x x When we amended Section 20 [now Section 22 on the Question Hour] yesterday. Thank you. According to Commissioner Suarez. is the testimonies of Cabinet ministers.MR. Mr. he being one of the proponents of the amendment to make the appearance of department heads discretionary in the question hour. Presiding Officer. DAVIDE.

Both Commissioners understood that the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is different from the power to conduct inquiries during the question hour. After conferring with the committee. the question hour. they being complementary to each other. the Prime Minister and the Cabinet remain in office only as long as they enjoy the confidence of the National Assembly. we find merit in the suggestion of Commissioner Davide.88 To that extent. In the context of a parliamentary system of government. That department heads may not be required to appear in a question hour does not. There was a specific provision for a question hour in the 1973 Constitution86 which made the appearance of ministers mandatory. departs from the question period of the parliamentary system. in aid of legislation. 85 corresponding to what is known in Britain as the question period. mean that the legislature is rendered powerless to elicit information from them in all circumstances.84 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Consistent with their statements earlier in the deliberations. where the ministers are also members of the legislature and are directly accountable to it. Commissioner Maambong’s committee – the Committee on Style – shared the view that the two provisions reflected distinct functions of Congress. was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Legislative Department. the "question hour" has a definite meaning. The same perfectly conformed to the parliamentary system established by that Constitution. MAAMBONG. the need to enforce Congress’ right to executive information in the performance of its legislative function becomes more imperative. They shall be responsible to the National Assembly for the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of national policy. it is that the Congress has the right to obtain information from any source – even from officials of departments and agencies in the executive branch. In fact. in effect. however. The moment this confidence is lost the Prime Minister and the Cabinet may be changed. An essential feature of the parliamentary system of government is the immediate accountability of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to the National Assembly. Commissioner Davide. if the separation of powers has anything to tell us on the subject under discussion. as it is presently understood in this jurisdiction. very essential not only in the application of check and balance but also. In other words. Would it be. DAVIDE. on the other hand. MR. It is a period of confrontation initiated by Parliament to hold the Prime Minister and the other ministers accountable for their acts and the operation of the government. Unlike in the presidential system where the tenure of office of all elected officials cannot be terminated before their term expired. The foregoing opinion was not the two Commissioners’ alone. unlike the situation which prevails in a parliamentary system such as that in Britain. From the above-quoted exchange.87 The framers of the 1987 Constitution removed the mandatory nature of such appearance during the question hour in the present Constitution so as to conform more fully to a system of separation of powers. Commissioner Davide’s only concern was that the two provisions on these distinct powers be placed closely together. in light of the absence of a mandatory question period. Neither Commissioner considered them as identical functions of Congress. a clear separation . Commissioners Davide and Maambong proceeded from the same assumption that these provisions pertained to two different functions of the legislature.Cabinet would be very. Yes. As Schwartz observes: Indeed. we are accepting that and so this Section 31 would now become Section 22. His views may thus be presumed as representing that of his Committee. In the United States there is. Commissioner Davide? MR.

since it depends for its effectiveness solely upon information parceled out ex gratia by the executive.O. Section 22. as even counsel for the Senate. . While the executive branch is a co-equal branch of the legislature.89 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Sections 21 and 22. when the inquiry in which Congress requires their appearance is "in aid of legislation" under Section 21. and the nonexistence in the Congress of an institution such as the British question period have perforce made reliance by the Congress upon its right to obtain information from the executive essential. if the functions of the Congress as the elected representatives of the people are adequately to be carried out. This is consistent with the intent discerned from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. Having established the proper interpretation of Section 22. When Congress exercises its power of inquiry. The absence of close rapport between the legislative and executive branches in this country. in keeping with the separation of powers. the objective of which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress’ oversight function. the aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation. each member thereof is exempt on the basis not only of separation of powers but also on the fiscal autonomy and the constitutional independence of the judiciary. It is based on her being the highest official of the executive branch. Sen. This point is not in dispute. Nonetheless. One specifically relates to the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. the power of Congress to compel the appearance of executive officials under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section 22 find their basis in the principle of separation of powers. it cannot frustrate the power of Congress to legislate by refusing to comply with its demands for information. its right to such information is not as imperative as that of the President to whom. Unlike the Presidency. Only one executive official may be exempted from this power — the President on whom executive power is vested. the Court now proceeds to pass on the constitutionality of Section 1 of E. states that Congress may only request their appearance. In such instances. as Chief Executive. members of the Supreme Court are also exempt from this power of inquiry. hence. By the same token.between the legislative and executive branches. hence. judicial power is vested in a collegial body. and the due respect accorded to a co-equal branch of government which is sanctioned by a long-standing custom. When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how department heads are implementing the statutes which it has issued. Joker Arroyo. beyond the reach of Congress except through the power of impeachment. the oversight function of Congress may be facilitated by compulsory process only to the extent that it is performed in pursuit of legislation. therefore. the only way for department heads to exempt themselves therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege.90 In fine. such department heads must give a report of their performance as a matter of duty. It is this very separation that makes the congressional right to obtain information from the executive so essential. should not be considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress. while the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour. Article VI of the Constitution. 464. if it is intelligently to perform its legislative tasks. admitted it during the oral argument upon interpellation of the Chief Justice. its power of oversight of administration in a system such as ours becomes a power devoid of most of its practical content. while closely related and complementary to each other. the appearance is mandatory for the same reasons stated in Arnault. comparable to those which exist under a parliamentary system. Ultimately. Unless the Congress possesses the right to obtain executive information. They are not exempt by the mere fact that they are department heads.

is properly invoked in relation to specific categories of information and not to categories of persons.O. however. is valid on its face. in view of its specific reference to Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution and the absence of any reference to inquiries in aid of legislation. however. The reading is dictated by the basic rule of construction that issuances must be interpreted. Article VI of the Constitution. the determination by the President under this provision is intended to be based on a similar finding of coverage under executive privilege. it is evident that under the rule of ejusdem generis. the reference to persons being "covered by the executive privilege" may be read as an abbreviated way of saying that the person is in possession of information which is. the appearance of department heads in the question hour is discretionary on their part. the Court notes that Section 2(b) of E. and the National Security Adviser). as much as possible. 464.O. are "covered by the executive privilege. Chief of Staff of the AFP. in a way that will render it constitutional. Thus." The enumeration also includes such other officers as may be determined by the President. Given the title of Section 2 — "Nature. be applied to appearances of department heads in inquiries in aid of legislation.O. 464 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. that such official is in possession of information that is covered by executive privilege.e. Congress is not bound in such instances to respect the refusal of the department head to appear in such inquiry." such official is subjected to the requirement that he first secure the consent of the President prior to appearing before Congress. In light.O. 464 which deals with the nature. Validity of Sections 2 and 3 Section 3 of E. as discussed above. must be construed as limited in its application to appearances of department heads in the question hour contemplated in the provision of said Section 22 of Article VI. all officers of the AFP and the PNP. Upon a determination by the designated head of office or by the President that an official is "covered by the executive privilege. Such is a misuse of the doctrine. Scope and Coverage of Executive Privilege" —. scope and coverage of executive privilege. privileged as defined in Section 2(a). unless a valid claim of privilege is subsequently made.Section 1. It covers all senior officials of executive departments. of Sec 2(a) of E. . or by the President herself. For under Section 22. 464 virtually states that executive privilege actually covers persons. and all senior national security officials who. authorized by the President under E. The requirement then to secure presidential consent under Section 1. 464. limited as it is only to appearances in the question hour. En passant. This determination then becomes the basis for the official’s not showing up in the legislative investigation.O. Chief of the PNP. department heads. in the judgment of the heads of offices designated in the same section (i. either by the President herself or by the Executive Secretary. The proviso allowing the President to give its consent means nothing more than that the President may reverse a prohibition which already exists by virtue of E. Executive privilege. This requirement effectively bars the appearance of the official concerned unless the same is permitted by the President. The enumeration is broad. The Court shall thus proceed on the assumption that this is the intention of the challenged order. in the judgment of the head of office concerned. underlying this requirement of prior consent is the determination by a head of office. Section 1 cannot.

to be covered by the order means that a determination has been made. whenever an official invokes E. Inevitably. however. and that the President has not reversed such determination. Thus. there has been no contrary pronouncement from the President. it is gathered from Chavez v. The letter assumes that the invited officials are covered by E. at the time of writing. even without mentioning the term "executive privilege. it only means that the President has not reversed the standing prohibition against their appearance before Congress. such invocation must be construed as a declaration to Congress that the President. The information does not cover Presidential conversations. and that. on the basis of executive privilege. the same must be deemed implied. Adherence To The Rule On Executive Privilege And Respect For The Rights Of Public Officials Appearing In Legislative Inquiries In Aid Of Legislation Under The Constitution. or executive sessions of either house of Congress. however.. And For Other Purposes"." amounts to an implied claim that the information is being withheld by the executive branch. It reads: In connection with the inquiry to be conducted by the Committee of the Whole regarding the Northrail Project of the North Luzon Railways Corporation on 29 September 2005 at 10:00 a. pursuant to Executive Order No. This kind of information cannot be pried open . 464 to justify his failure to be present. the case holds: There is no claim by PEA that the information demanded by petitioner is privileged information rooted in the separation of powers. although it is not stated in the letter that such determination has been made. The letter dated September 28. either through the President or the heads of offices authorized under E. by authority of the President. (Underscoring supplied) The letter does not explicitly invoke executive privilege or that the matter on which these officials are being requested to be resource persons falls under the recognized grounds of the privilege to justify their absence. are recognized as confidential. or discussions during closed-door Cabinet meetings which. Respecting the statement that the invited officials have not secured the consent of the President. like internaldeliberations of the Supreme Court and other collegiate courts. Verily.m. 464.O. 464. they cannot attend the hearing. or a head of office authorized by the President. has made a determination that the information required by the Senate is privileged. 2005). Executive Secretary Ermita’s letter leads to the conclusion that the executive branch. correspondences. deliberately or not. While there is no Philippine case that directly addresses the issue of whether executive privilege may be invoked against Congress. 464. has determined that the requested information is privileged. are left unstated.O.O. by the designated head of office or the President. please be informed that officials of the Executive Department invited to appear at the meeting will not be able to attend the same without the consent of the President. PEA that certain information in the possession of the executive may validly be claimed as privileged even against Congress. that the invited official possesses information that is covered by executive privilege. 464 (s. Significant premises in this letter.In view thereof. entitled "Ensuring Observance Of The Principle Of Separation Of Powers. there is an implied claim of privilege.O. Nor does it expressly state that in view of the lack of consent from the President under E. 464. Said officials have not secured the required consent from the President. 2005 of respondent Executive Secretary Ermita to Senate President Drilon illustrates the implied nature of the claim of privilege authorized by E. however. In fine. As explained earlier. an implied claim of privilege has been made by the executive.O. Such declaration. Thus.

464 is not accompanied by any specific allegation of the basis thereof (e. is essential to protect the independence of decision-making of those tasked to exercise Presidential. Vasquez94 and. or whether.S. v. It does not suffice to merely declare that the President. in substance. Federal Trade Commission is enlightening: [T]he lack of specificity renders an assessment of the potential harm resulting from disclosure impossible.. a defect that renders it invalid per se. in an implied claim of privilege.)." Certainly. The court itself must determine whether the circumstances are appropriate for the claim of privilege. Congress has the right to know why the executive considers the requested information privileged. and yet do so without forcing a disclosure of the very thing the privilege is designed to protect.96 (Underscoring supplied) . Nixon. do not seem like a claim of privilege only makes it more pernicious. A frank exchange of exploratory ideas and assessments. must. given the circumstances in which it is made. Legislative and Judicial power. examining the ground invoked therefor and the particular circumstances surrounding it. but a mere statement of what is included in the phrase "confidential or classified information between the President and the public officers covered by this executive order.O. As U. free from the glare of publicity and pressure by interested parties. While Section 2(a) enumerates the types of information that are covered by the privilege under the challenged order. whether the information demanded involves military or diplomatic secrets. thereby preventing the Court from balancing such harm against plaintiffs’ needs to determine whether to override any claims of privilege. it can neither be claimed nor waived by a private party. therefore. there is. being a claim of exemption from an obligation to disclose information.95 A.91 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Section 3 of E. A claim of privilege. lodged by the head of the department which has control over the matter. after actual personal consideration by that officer. This is not the situation in the instant case. Reynolds teaches: The privilege belongs to the government and must be asserted by it. By its very nature. Congress is left to speculate as to which among them is being referred to by the executive. It is not to be lightly invoked. etc. has determined that it is so. That the message is couched in terms that. were the same criteria in assessing the claim of privilege asserted against the Ombudsman in Almonte v.g. there is no way of determining whether it falls under one of the traditional privileges. more in point. cannot be dismissed outright as invalid by the mere fact that it sanctions claims of executive privilege. It threatens to make Congress doubly blind to the question of why the executive branch is not providing it with the information that it has requested. closed-door Cabinet meetings. on first impression. Such declaration leaves Congress in the dark on how the requested information could be classified as privileged. and that the President has not overturned that determination. and as demonstrated by the letter of respondent Executive Secretary quoted above. against a committee of the Senate in Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities v. 464. The enumeration is not even intended to be comprehensive.O. or an authorized head of office. 93 These. be clearly asserted. Smith v.O. There must be a formal claim of privilege. This Court must look further and assess the claim of privilege authorized by the Order to determine whether it is valid.92 (Underscoring supplied) Absent then a statement of the specific basis of a claim of executive privilege. the implied claim authorized by Section 3 of E.by a co-equal branch of government. it should be respected. therefore. While the validity of claims of privilege must be assessed on a case to case basis.

demands no less than a claim of privilege clearly stating the grounds therefor. Ct. Without this specificity. generally. is highly relevant to these questions. 70 S. Article of Drug:97 On the present state of the record.S. and] cannot be condoned. Such a statement would have given the Subcommittee an opportunity to avoid the blocking of its inquiry by taking other appropriate steps to obtain the records. Bryan. Congress must not require the executive to state the reasons for the claim with such particularity as to compel disclosure of the information which the privilege is meant to protect. 724. or in this particular instance. of America100 amplifies. Department of Energy99 similarly emphasizes that "an agency must provide ‘precise and certain’ reasons for preserving the confidentiality of requested information. In stating its objection to claimant’s interrogatories.98 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Mobil Oil Corp. Sheraton Corp. To find these interrogatories objectionable. Therefore. The facts upon which the privilege is based must be established. an assumption in which this Court is unwilling to indulge sua sponte. the Court can not recognize the claim in the instant case because it is legally insufficient to allow the Court to make a just and reasonable determination as to its applicability.S. It is . His failure to make any such statement was "a patent evasion of the duty of one summoned to produce papers before a congressional committee[. it is impossible for a court to analyze the claim short of disclosure of the very thing sought to be protected.S. Thus. this Court would have to assume that the evaluation and classification of claimant’s products was a matter of internal policy formulation. government asserts. For it is as true here as it was there. U.103 A useful analogy in determining the requisite degree of particularity would be the privilege against self-incrimination. moreover. Privilege cannot be set up by an unsupported claim.104 declares: The witness is not exonerated from answering merely because he declares that in so doing he would incriminate himself – his say-so does not of itself establish the hazard of incrimination. a decent respect for the House of Representatives. v." Black v. would make a farce of the whole procedure. citations omitted) Upon the other hand. 339 U. To recognize such a broad claim in which the Defendant has given no precise or compelling reasons to shield these documents from outside scrutiny." (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.101 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Due respect for a co-equal branch of government. the Court has little more than its sua sponte speculation with which to weigh the applicability of the claim. U. An improperly asserted claim of privilege is no claim of privilege. would have required that (he) state (his) reasons for noncompliance upon the return of the writ. this Court is not called upon to perform this balancing operation. v. Hoffman v. As the affidavit now stands. 323. and nothing more. by whose authority the subpoenas issued. despite the fact that a claim was made by the proper executive as Reynolds requires. ‘To deny the Committee the opportunity to consider the objection or remedy is in itself a contempt of its authority and an obstruction of its processes. thus: A formal and proper claim of executive privilege requires a specific designation and description of the documents within its scope as well as precise and certain reasons for preserving their confidentiality. The government has not shown – nor even alleged – that those who evaluated claimant’s product were involved in internal policymaking. Apropos is the following ruling in McPhaul v. that the disclosures sought by claimant would inhibit the free expression of opinion that nondisclosure is designed to protect.And so is U.S:102 We think the Court’s decision in United States v. that ‘if (petitioner) had legitimate reasons for failing to produce the records of the association.

an exemption from the obligation to disclose information. No infirmity. were required to prove the hazard in the sense in which a claim is usually required to be established in court. however. cites the case of the United States where." x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The claim of privilege under Section 3 of E. To sustain the privilege. it need only be evident from the implications of the question. It is merely implied. it must be wielded only by the highest official in the executive hierarchy. the President may not authorize her subordinates to exercise such power. 464 must be invalidated. There is even less reason to uphold such authorization in the instant case where the . In light of this highly exceptional nature of the privilege. 464. once the head of office determines that a certain information is privileged. and to require him to answer if ‘it clearly appears to the court that he is mistaken. however. the necessity must be of such high degree as to outweigh the public interest in enforcing that obligation in a particular case. only the President can assert executive privilege to withhold information from Congress.O. Section 3 and Section 2(b) of E.for the court to say whether his silence is justified." which means that he personally consulted with her. that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result. as a matter of necessity. It does not purport to be conclusive on the other branches of government. She may of course authorize the Executive Secretary to invoke the privilege on her behalf. It is not asserted.O. Petitioner Senate of the Philippines. In fine. Section 2(b) in relation to Section 3 virtually provides that. upon interposing his claim. by definition. It may thus be construed as a mere expression of opinion by the President regarding the nature and scope of executive privilege. In other words. be kept confidential in pursuit of the public interest. if the witness.’ However. The privilege being.105 or in those instances where exemption from disclosure is necessary to the discharge of highly important executive responsibilities. such determination is presumed to bear the President’s authority and has the effect of prohibiting the official from appearing before Congress. Instead of providing precise and certain reasons for the claim. It is woefully insufficient for Congress to determine whether the withholding of information is justified under the circumstances of each case. in particular.106 The doctrine of executive privilege is thus premised on the fact that certain informations must. subject only to the express pronouncement of the President that it is allowing the appearance of such official. however. Such presumptive authorization. in the setting in which it is asked. as already discussed. The privilege being an extraordinary power. It severely frustrates the power of inquiry of Congress. binding only on the heads of office mentioned in Section 2(b). is contrary to the exceptional nature of the privilege. is recognized with respect to information the confidential nature of which is crucial to the fulfillment of the unique role and responsibilities of the executive branch. the Court finds it essential to limit to the President the power to invoke the privilege. it merely invokes E. he would be compelled to surrender the very protection which the privilege is designed to guarantee. can be imputed to Section 2(a) as it merely provides guidelines. coupled with an announcement that the President has not given her consent. assert as another ground for invalidating the challenged order the alleged unlawful delegation of authority to the heads of offices in Section 2(b). so it claims. Executive privilege. Petitioners. in which case the Executive Secretary must state that the authority is "By order of the President. in this case to Congress. 464 in relation to Section 2(b) is thus invalid per se. These provisions thus allow the President to authorize claims of privilege by mere silence.O. on what is covered by executive privilege.

464 is to ensure "respect for the rights of public officials appearing in inquiries in aid of legislation. Belmonte: . that in every exercise of its power of inquiry. in relation to Section 2(b). while Congress is composed of representatives elected by the people. it bears noting. These powers belong only to Congress and not to an individual citizen. The citizens are thereby denied access to information which they can use in formulating their own opinions on the matter before Congress — opinions which they can then communicate to their representatives and other government officials through the various legal means allowed by their freedom of expression. the people are exercising their right to information. after the lapse of that reasonable time. Petitioners are not amiss in claiming. that what is involved in the present controversy is not merely the legislative power of inquiry. is presumed to be a matter of public concern. This is necessary in order to provide the President or the Executive Secretary with fair opportunity to consider whether the matter indeed calls for a claim of executive privilege." That such rights must indeed be respected by Congress is an echo from Article VI Section 21 of the Constitution mandating that "[t]he rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.authorization is not explicit but by mere silence. it is clear that it is essentially an authorization for implied claims of executive privilege. therefore. the demand of a citizen for the production of documents pursuant to his right to information does not have the same obligatory force as a subpoena duces tecum issued by Congress. There are. is further invalid on this score. and not with the demands of citizens for information pursuant to their right to information on matters of public concern. but the right of the people to information. any executive issuance tending to unduly limit disclosures of information in such investigations necessarily deprives the people of information which. For one. Neither does the right to information grant a citizen the power to exact testimony from government officials. clear distinctions between the right of Congress to information which underlies the power of inquiry and the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. it does not follow. Thus. in his own judgment. might be covered by executive privilege. for which reason it must be invalidated. Section 3. If. being presumed to be in aid of legislation. To the extent that investigations in aid of legislation are generally conducted in public. however. It follows. that when an official is being summoned by Congress on a matter which." In light of the above discussion of Section 3. except in a highly qualified sense. Right to Information E. he must be afforded reasonable time to inform the President or the Executive Secretary of the possible need for invoking the privilege.O 464 is concerned only with the demands of Congress for the appearance of executive officials in the hearings conducted by it. Thus holds Valmonte v. That such authorization is partly motivated by the need to ensure respect for such officials does not change the infirm nature of the authorization itself.O. Congress is no longer bound to respect the failure of the official to appear before Congress and may then opt to avail of the necessary legal means to compel his appearance. The Court notes that one of the expressed purposes for requiring officials to secure the consent of the President under Section 3 of E. neither the President nor the Executive Secretary invokes the privilege. however.

An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual. For [w]hat republican theory did accomplish…was to reverse the old presumption in favor of secrecy. in the sense explained above. The subject of such law is a matter of public interest which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or. based on the divine right of kings and nobles. Tuvera states: The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application. 464 applies only to officials of the executive branch. therefore. the power of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is frustrated. we shall not have merely nullified the power of our legislature to inquire into the operations of government. based on the doctrine of popular sovereignty. The infirm provisions of E. this open dialogue can be effective only to the extent that the citizenry is informed and thus able to formulate its will intelligently. . like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. If the executive branch withholds such information on the ground that it is privileged.107(Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The impairment of the right of the people to information as a consequence of E. 464 has a direct effect on the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. but we shall have given up something of much greater value – our right as a people to take part in government. logic dictates that the challenged order must be covered by the publication requirement. Only when the participants in the discussion are aware of the issues and have access to information relating thereto can such bear fruit. (Underscoring supplied)109 Resort to any means then by which officials of the executive branch could refuse to divulge information cannot be presumed valid. if he is a proper party.O. however. even in courts of justice. allow the executive branch to evade congressional requests for information without need of clearly asserting a right to do so and/or proffering its reasons therefor. On the need for publishing even those statutes that do not directly apply to people in general.It is in the interest of the State that the channels for free political discussion be maintained to the end that the government may perceive and be responsive to the people’s will. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. for strictly speaking all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them directly. therefore. Due process thus requires that the people should have been apprised of this issuance before it was implemented.O. Yet. Conclusion Congress undoubtedly has a right to information from the executive branch whenever it is sought in aid of legislation.O. 464 prior to its publication While E. It is. E. Otherwise. it does not follow that the same is exempt from the need for publication. As explained above. it must so assert it and state the reason therefor and why it must be respected.O.O. Implementation of E. a matter of public interest which members of the body politic may question before this Court. 464 is. and replace it with a presumption in favor of publicity. 108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Although the above statement was made in reference to statutes. Tañada v. 464. By the mere expedient of invoking said provisions. That is impermissible. just as direct as its violation of the legislature’s power of inquiry.

WHEREFORE." are declared VOID. The State shall. and efficiency. The right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. but may cover matters related thereto. however. 48 Section 2 of The Party-List System Act (Republic Act 7941) reads: SEC. the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. by law. . Footnotes * Henceforth. Adherence to the Rule on Executive Privilege and Respect for the Rights of Public Officials Appearing in Legislative Inquiries in Aid of Legislation Under the Constitution. shall be afforded the citizen. in consolidated petitions which assail the validity or constitutionality of an issuance of a government official or agency. – The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national. 16. organizations and parties. 32 Sec. and to documents. transactions. 22. 464 (series of 2005). Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. 37 Sec. and lead modest lives. which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors. integrity. of expression. SO ORDERED. political. loyalty. 21. to become members of the House of Representatives. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Towards this end. Sections 2(b) and 3 of Executive Order No. 30 Sec. The heads of departments may upon their own initiative. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions. and papers pertaining to official acts. Declaration of Policy. Access to official records. 35 Sec. 1. 28.1avvphil. and For Other Purposes. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. 7. act with patriotism and justice. 36 Sec. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum. the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. facilitate the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms. regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof. Sections 1 and 2(a) are. 4. the appearance shall be conducted in executive session. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing. as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development. 31 Sec. "Ensuring Observance of the Principle of Separation of Powers. serve them with utmost responsibility. as the rules of each House shall provide.net 33 Sec. appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. or decisions. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. the State shall develop and guarantee a full. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech. with the consent of the President. Public office is a public trust. or upon the request of either House. the petitioner which is the most directly affected by the issuance shall be first in the order of enumeration of the titles of the petitions irrespective of their docket numbers or dates of filing. 2. 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. and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. VALID. 34 Sec. or of the press. 1.

Vide R. adherence to the rule on executive privilege and respect for the rights of persons appearing in such inquiries in aid of legislation and due regard to constitutional mandate. was not enough to outweigh the nondisclosure claim. Congressional Oversight.1996) states in Note 24: "Now that the Supreme Court decision has specifically recognized a "privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications. there have been only three reported cases dealing with this issue. pursuant to the rule on executive privilege. 551 F. in the past twenty-five years.C. 1983)". Cir." 76 N. Supp." . Constitutional Law 333 (3rd ed.free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party. and shall provide the simplest scheme possible. have highlighted the need to ensure the observance of the principle of separation of powers. Vasquez. 62 "WHEREAS. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities v. . House of Representatives.3d 729. Redlich & B.1977). 150 (D.S.App. 314 Phil. xxxx "WHEREAS.2d 384 (D. Cir." 78 Comm. Rev.C. Hon. 1974). it is hard to see what Congressional demand will fare better when met by an assertion of privilege.2d 121 (D. Nixon (Senate Committee). civilian and military. particularly with respect to the invitation of a member of the Cabinet by the Senate as well as various heads of offices. recent events. Almonte v. 276 (1997) states: "It appears that the courts have been drawn into executive-congressional privilege disputes over access to information on only three recent occasions. 166 (1995) states: "To put this case in perspective it should be stated at the outset that it does not concern a demand by a citizen for information under the freedom of information guarantee of the Constitution. Schwartz. if the demand of the Watergate Committee. These were: Unites States v. United States v.D. the same would surely have been true after the recognition. the President and those who assist her must be free to explore the alternatives in the process of shaping policies and making decisions since this is fundamental to the operation of the government and is rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution." the Select Committee decision appears even stronger.Cir. 498 F. Iraola.1976). engaged in a specific investigation of such importance.C.C. Executive Privilege.D. 1559): "The Supreme Court has yet to rule on a dispute over information requested by Congress where executive privilege has been asserted. 326 U. 556 F. appeal after remand. If the need of the Watergate Committee for evidence was not enough before the Supreme Court recognized executive privilege. and Requests for Information Relating to Federal Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions (87 Iowa L.2d 725 (D. 150.C. sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature. And. 567 F. x x x" 73 In re Sealed Case 121 F. AT&T.