Open letter to the Justices of the Supreme Court sign now

Open letter to the Justices of the Supreme Court
15 April 2008

As ordinary citizens, we continually hope to find truth, justice and lasting reforms amidst the political crisis besieging the country.

We appeal for reconsideration of your decision on the petition of Romulo L. Neri versus the Senate Committees on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, on Trade and Commerce, and on National Defense and Security.

We believe that executive privilege is subordinate to the higher values of transparency and accountability in governance, except on rare occasions such as declared wars when secrecy of executive moves is of greater interest to national security.

The three questions which Mr. Neri refused to answer are significant in unraveling the truth behind the NBN-ZTE deal. Executive privilege must not be conveniently cited either to shield a sitting Chief Executive from any accountability for anomalous deals or to obstruct inquiries and measures that would prevent questionable executive agreements in the future. Such abuse of the privilege is contrary to Article XI, Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution, which states that public office is a public trust and public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people.

As branches of government equal to the Executive and the Judiciary, the Senate and the Housethrough inquiries in aid of legislation and in exercise of their oversight functionsplay a vital role in maintaining a healthy democracy. With all due respect, we deem that the High Court's decision will seriously impair the system of checks and balances in our current form of government.

Equally important, we appeal that you uphold the Filipino people's right to information on matters of great public concern, as guaranteed by Article III, Section 7 of the Philippine Constitution. Through the degradation of public services despite escalation of taxes, ordinary citizens suffer the penalties of corruption and bad governance and thus deserve transparency in government and anti-corruption measures in jurisprudence.

We ask Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Renato Corona and Presbitero Velasco, Jr. to inhibit themselves from sitting on this case in order to remove any doubt of partiality towards certain personalities and interests, such as petitioner Neri and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Again, we seek the enlightenment and wisdom of our Justices, particularly in this dark period of our countrys history.

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