Sotto counters Arroyo: Congressional inquiries needed in any parliament

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday, November 28, said that legislative inquiries are needed to make laws in any parliament.

Sotto made the statement when asked about the position taken by Speaker Gloria Arroyo against congressional inquiries in aid of legislation.

Sotto said the Senate primarily works in committees, which then conducts the hearings and inquiries.

“It is part of the work of the Senate. The Senate, contrary to the perspective of the House of Representatives – the Senate works by the committee or works through the committees… 'Yung plenary kung tutuusin, ministerial. 'Yung committee work ang importante (When you think about it, plenary sessions are only ministeral. The committee work is what's important),” Sotto said in an interview with reporters.

“In the committee, the hearings can be inquiries. It can be mere hearings of the contents of the different bills, ganoon lang. Maluwag ang elbow room namin diyan (that's it. We have wide elbow room there),” he added.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr said Arroyo has ordered a moratorium on all House probes. He said committees may hold investigations only when Arroyo would be convinced that a bill or measure would come out of it.

Sotto, when asked about it, agreed that preventing legislative inquiries would clip the powers of Congress.

“Hindi puwede ‘yon. Kahit saang parliament sa mundo, hindi puwedeng pigilan ‘yon (That can’t be. In any parliament in the world, you cannot prevent that),” he said. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email