Press Release
January 26, 2016

Drilon says Senate is not above the law, Mamasapano
audio covered by anti-wiretapping law

"No one is above the law and even senators who craft the laws of the land are bound to respect and abide by them," Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said, as he stressed that the alleged Mamasapano audio recording is covered by the provisions of Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act.

"The Senate is not above the law. The senators should abide by the law. What I am saying is that the law is so clear and precise that it leaves no room for misinterpretation," Drilon said.

As a lawyer and former justice secretary, Drilon explained that Section 4 of RA 4200 clearly states that "any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation."

"The law explicitly includes legislative investigations as among the forum wherein illegally obtained communication and information cannot be used in evidence," Drilon said.

"The law makes no distinction and the basic principle in statutory construction is that where the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. The provision covers legislative investigations without any distinction as to whether it is open or executive session," Drilon emphasized.

Drilon also clarified that he only brought up RA 4200 to enlighten his colleagues regarding the existing rules that govern the use of unauthorized recording in a public hearing "in order to guide the committee in deciding on the matter."

"The laws are there to guide us and not to threaten us. As senators, we must commit to enforce the laws of the land. In a country where rules are hardly followed, we need leaders who respect laws and are ready to uphold and defend them without ifs and buts," Drilon said.

"As members of Congress, we must be the first to follow the law. We should send a strong message to the people that the laws we have crafted cannot in any way be bent, and that all should follow them," Drilon said.

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