Senate panel orders release from detention of Santos, Roque, Cenas

(Eagle News)–The Senate panel that cited in contempt and ordered detained three of its resource persons for “continuously lying” in its inquiry into the problems in the Bureau of Corrections has ordered them released.

The order of release of BuCor legal unit chief Fredric Anthony Santos, BuCor records section chief Ramoncito Roque and New Bilibid Prison hospital doctor Ursicio Cenas was signed by justice and human rights chair Richard Gordon and  was dated Sept. 19, a day after the three filed  a petition for a writ of habeas corpus assailing their detention.

“Pursuant to the provision on the order of arrest that they will be released if and when they cleanse themselves of their contumacious conduct and testify truthfully, the committee hereby orders (their) immediate release,” the release order read.

Gordon said the decision was arrived at after he and Senate President Tito Sotto talked.

He said it was decided there was no  reason to keep the three detained anymore since they became “more forthright” with the committee.

The sergeant-at-arms of the Senate was  directed to implement the order.

Earlier in the day, Sotto reiterated the Senate’s power to cite in contempt, citing a Supreme Court ruling.

In seeking for a writ of habeas corpus, Cenas, Roque and Santos said the Senate panel violated their due process as it supposedly did not afford them the opportunity to be heard.

The SC has asked the Senate to comment on the petition.