SC denies Senate plea vs Duterte order on execs’ attendance in Pharmally hearings
THE Supreme Court (SC) has denied the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by the Senate in 2021 challenging the constitutionality of the memorandum issued by former President Rodrigo Duterte that barred executive officials from attending the investigation being conducted at the time by the Senate blue ribbon committee.
In the decision penned by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, the High Court held that the Senate petition failed to meet the requisites for a petition for certiorari to prosper.
Under Rule 65, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, the requirements for a petition for certiorari are the following: the writ is directed against a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions who acted without or in excess of jurisdiction; who acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and there is no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the course of law to stop the implementation of the questioned act.
Citing the third requirement under Rule 65, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, the SC said that the resolution of the Senate petition does not hinge on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of Duterte’s memorandum.
It pointed out that the challenged presidential order could have been addressed by the Senate by referencing to its powers stated under its own Rules of Procedures governing the conduct of investigation in aid of legislation.
In 2021, the Senate blue ribbon committee, then chaired by former senator Richard Gordon, initiated an investigation into the budget utilization of the Department of Health (DOH) following a Commission on Audit (COA) finding that was a deficiency of P67.3 billion in public funds intended for the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.
The committee hearings tackled the DOH’s underutilization of its 2020 budget, the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by local government units; unspent funds, misstatements, irregularities, and other deficiencies of the DOH; and payment claims issues between the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and private hospitals.
The probe also delved into the questionable transactions of the