Thursday, September 14, 2006

Nachura and His Statutory Construction Rules

I happened to watch last night's Cerge for Truth at RPN 9 after hours of channel surfing. The topic was about the arrest of Camilo Sabio of the Presidential Commission on Good (or Bad?) Governance and the guests include Solicitor General and former Congressman Nachura and Justice Amado Valdez of the UE-Law.

First strike: Was the arrest of Sabio legal?

In Nachura's point of view, it was illegal. His contention, Executive Order No. 1 particularly Section 4B which states that "No member or staff of the commission shall be required to testify or produce in any judicial, legislative or administrative proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance."

But if one reviews the constitution, as Valdez correctly pointed out, Section 21 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution is very clear: The Senate has the right to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation and in doing so may issue subpoenas or warrants of arrest to protect and enforce said right. This is being opposed by Nachura claiming that EO No. 1 is above the Constitution. WHATTTT???? Who taught him that logic?

In the first place, Nachura argued, EO 1 came before the 1987 constitution. As opposed to the latter which, by its name became effective in 1987, EO No. 1 was issued by then president Cory Aquino in 1986. Again, a BIGGGG WHAAAATTTT??? If that is the case can we claim then that the 1935 Constitution is still applicable because it was passed in 1935? Or that Republic Act No. 1 is more powerful than the 1987 constitution? It appears that the SolGen has been mislead by the "last in time doctrine" in jurisprudence? Or has he become too intelligent to notice the very elementary rule in statutory construction?

Second strike: Is EO 1 repealed?

Nachura's claim is that EO No. 1 is not repealed. Well, repealed or not, it should still bow down to the applicable constitution at the present. And considering that the applicable constitution or the constitution in effect is the 1987 constitution, the EO should be interpreted in the light and spirit of the 1987 constitution.

Third strike: Is the 1995 rules of the House applicable in 2006?

Nachura's claim is on the negative. According to him, today is year 2006 and there was no resolution or action adopting the applicability of the said rules. Much more, there was no publication in a newspaper or even in the Gazette. Valdez claimed, however, that even if there is no publication or resolution for the adoption of the rules, it will still take effect and this is through the actions of the members of the House. This is implied adoption.

Considering Nachura's logic, that there should be a formal adoption and publication of the rules to take effect, why then is his lady boss Gloria Arroyo utilizing the 2005 budget when in fact it is already 2006? Hello, Mr. Nachura?

Or simply put it this way. What if, for the sake of argument, somebody steals your cellphone and in the process you did not follow Vidal Querol's advice of simply giving it to the aggressor so you were eventually killed, will your family just say thank you and goodbye to your aggressor because the criminal law was passed decades ago and it is now already year 2006?

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