Sotto reiterates Senate power to cite in contempt; Even SC recognizes it, he says

(Eagle News)–Even the Supreme Court recognizes the Senate’s power to cite in contempt.

This was the reiteration of Senate President Tito Sotto on Thursday, Sept. 19, after three resource persons the Senate joint panel cited in contempt asked the Court of Appeals for help and filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

In filing the petition, Bureau of Corrections legal unit chief Fredric Anthony Santos, BuCor documents unit section Ramoncito Roque and New Bilibid Prison hospital doctor Ursicio Cenas said the Senate panel violated due process as it did not afford them the opportunity to air their side.

They also alleged the SC itself had frowned upon a period of detention that was not specific, noting that the Senate order of contempt said that their contempt would remain effective until they stopped lying and “purge” themselves of such a contempt.

“A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislations are intended to affect or change,” Sotto read a part of the SC ruling during the hearing on the Good Conduct Time Allowance law.

Saying Santos, Roque and Cenas were “continuously lying,” the panel unanimously approved Senator Bato Dela Rosa’s motion to cite them in contempt last week.

Santos then told senators he was not aware if everyone knew about the GCTA law in the Bureau of Corrections, while Roque and Cenas, who had been accused of receiving money in exchange for the release of an inmate under the GCTA law and of receiving money in exchange for the release of medical documents, respectively, denied the allegations against them.