"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, March 10, 2008

Faster Senate Probes Sought

Witnesses must be required to execute an affidavit before appearing in Senate investigations to minimize lying and prevent the Senate from going on a wild goose chase, Sen. Richard Gordon said yesterday.

“I don’t want the Senate to go on a fishing expedition all the time, especially on sensational cases such as the broadband deal because we deprive the people of the ability to understand and follow what is happening,” he said.

Gordon said the procedure would also keep Senate investigations from dragging on with no definite direction.

“It is important that we have a piece of paper where we can really look over and have a basis for questioning,” he said.

“We will be able to prepare ourselves; we would not be surprised and no other parties will be surprised.”

Gordon said yesterday Senate rules provide that any witness may submit a written statement even if not under oath to the appropriate committee not less than 24 hours before the hearing.

“In other words, the filing of statements is merely discretionary,” he said.

“I have filed Senate Resolution 321 to amend this rule by making the submission of sworn statements mandatory in all inquiries that may involve criminal prosecution later.”

Gordon said senators would ask the questions for the deposition and the witness would be locked to his statement.

“At the end of the sworn statement, they will say nothing more,” he said.

“If they introduce in their testimony a new element not found in their deposition, then they should explain why they did not mention this earlier.”

Gordon said his proposed amendment to the Senate rules is from the Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court for use in courts nationwide.

“The evident purpose is to enable the parties to obtain the fullest possible knowledge of the issues and facts before the start of the trials and prevent them from being carried on in the dark,” he said. Aurea Calica

Gordon eyes faster Senate probes
Monday, March 10, 2008
Philippine Star