On the proposed
directive in barring cabinet members from attending the hearings in
A press statement by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
October 5, 2021
It is the objective and
purpose of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to uphold the rule
of law, improve and assist in the administration of justice and
foster and maintain high ideals of integrity, public service and
conduct. This call to service is engraved not only in its By-Laws
but in the very Rules of Court (Section 1, Rule 139-A).
In view of the brewing
conflict between the Executive and the Legislative branches of the
government, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines calls for calm,
sobriety, and unity among the said two (2) branches of government
and its agencies, and for the same to cooperate and work together to
combat corruption and abuse.
It is imperative for our
government to fight corruption, wherever it maybe, and to assist,
rather than obstruct, any investigation that seeks to identify the
root of corruption and the perpetrators behind them.
Corruption is measured not
just in the billions of pesos of our taxpayers’ money lost to
government malfeasance, but more importantly, in the deficiency of
effective healthcare and medicine that could have saved the lives of
many of our countrymen, as well as financial assistance to
households and businesses in distress due to the pandemic.
A transparent government
is one of the hallmarks of a truly republican state. The only way to
succeed is for all branches of government to work together in
combating corruption and abuse.
We call on the President
to heed the words of the Supreme Court in the case of Senate vs.
Ermita (G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006) which provides as follows:
Ultimately, 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. While the executive branch is
a co-equal branch of the legislature, it cannot frustrate the power
of Congress to legislate by refusing to comply with its demands for
We thus urge the President
to reconsider his decision to bar his Cabinet from attending the
Senate investigation on the alleged irregularities in the Department
of Health (DOH) spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic program.
It is only by granting our Congress free access to information that
we can empower them to formulate policies that fully reflect the
will of our people.