Thursday, September 4, 2014

Drilon on suspension of colleagues: ‘We will adhere to the rule of law’

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today stressed that the Senate is not above the law and that the implementation of the Sandiganbayan’s decision to suspend his colleagues is in full adherence to the country’s anti-graft and plunder laws.

“We are not above the law. Neither the Senate nor the senators are above the law,” said Drilon during an interview with Bombo Radyo today.

“We will adhere to the rule of law,” stressed Drilon, a lawyer and former justice secretary.

Susundin po natin ang batas. Kami po ang gumagawa ng batas, kaya kailangan nating ipakita sa taumbayan na tayo po ay susunod,” he emphasized.

(We will comply with the law. As members of Congress, we must be the first to follow the law, and we must serve as an example to the Filipino people by being obedient to the laws that we create and pass.)

The Senate leader reiterated that the Supreme Court already ruled in 2001 that the nation’s anti-graft law is applicable to the members of Congress.

“The decision of the Senate President to implement the Sandiganbayan’s order of suspension against Senators Juan Ponce Enrle and Jinggoy Estrada is in obedience to the anti-graft and plunder laws which we in the Congress crafted and passed,” said Drilon.

“The Supreme Court categorically held that Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) does not exclude from its coverage the members of Congress. The Supreme Court is clear that the preventive suspension can be applied to all members of Congress,” he explained, noting that the Plunder Law contains an identical provision on preventive suspension.

Ito ay ginawa natin dahilan sa the Senate is not above the law. Kung ano po yung batas ay susundin natin. Noong 2001 pa lang, nagpahayag na ang Supreme Court sa isang kaso na ang anti-graft at ang plunder law ay sakop ang mga miyembro ng Kongreso –senador ka man o congressman,” said Drilon.

(We are doing this because the Senate is not above the law. We have to follow the law. As early as 2001, the Supreme Court, has already resolved that the anti-graft and plunder laws covers the members of the legislative branch – whether you are a senator or a congressman is not a consideration.)

“All of us should be subject to the laws we pass,” he concluded. 

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