Press Release
June 1, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today warned officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the danger of thinking that they can ignore lawful orders from civilian institutions by not cooperating with the Senate inquiry into the arrest and alleged physical maltreatment of five followers of former President Joseph Estrada.

Pimentel said AFPs refusal to allow the military officers and men concerned to face the Senate hearing and to even identify the operatives of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP) involved in the operation against the five Estrada followers smacks of an open defiance of the authority of democratic institutions and of the constitutional process for looking into the actuations of public functionaries, including men in uniform.

I think it is a cover up on their part. And secondly, it shows that some highly-placed officers of the armed forces believe they are superior to the civilian authorities and therefore they are undermining the whole structure of our democratic governance, he said.

The minority leader rejected the AFP brass explanation that they could not testify at the Senate hearing on the case on the ground that the gag order imposed by Executive Order 464 still exists. He said that since EO 464 was already adjudged as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, invoking this order was a flimsy and unjustified excuse to evade the legislative inquiry.

EO 464 requires Cabinet members, subordinate officials of the executive branch, including military and police officers and men to secure presidential clearance before appearing in congressional hearings.

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