Question A.6, 2019 Political Law Bar Exam

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Lawyer, Author, Mentor

A.6.

(Question A.6, Political Law, 2019 Bar Exam)

A committee of the Senate invited Mr. X and Mr. Y, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Secretary of Energy, respectively, as resource speakers for an inquiry in aid legislation. Mr. X refused to attend, arguing that the Senate, not its committee, has the power to compel attendance. Meanwhile, Mr. Y attended the committee hearing but upon being asked about discussions made during a closed-door cabinet meeting, he refused to answer invoking executive privilege. The committee members insisted that Mr. Y answer the question pursuant to the right of Congress to information from the executive branch.

(a) Based on his argument, is Mr. X’s non-appearance permissible? Explain. (2.5%)

(b) Is Mr. Y’s refusal to answer based on executive privilege valid? Explain. (2.5%)

Suggested Answer:

No. Answer

Under jurisprudence, once an inquiry is admitted or established to be within the jurisdiction of a legislative body to make, the investigating committee has the power to compel attendance and require a witness to answer any question pertinent to that inquiry. Rule

In the case at bar, it appears that the Senate investigating committee was duly constituted pursuant to an inquiry in aid of legislation. Accordingly, it has the power to compel the attendance of Mr. and to answer questions that may be asked pertinent to the inquiry. Apply

Thus, the non-appearance of Mr. X is not permissible. Conclusion

(b) No. Answer

Under jurisprudence, it is only the President who can invoke executive privilege. When an official is being summoned by Congress on a matter which, in his own judgment, might be covered by executive privilege, he must be afforded reasonable time to inform the President or the Executive Secretary of the possible need for invoking the privilege. Rule

In the case at bar, there is no indication that Mr. Y consulted with the President and was thereafter directed to invoke executive privilege on behalf of the President. Apply

Thus, Mr. Y’s refusal to answer based on executive privilege was not valid. Conclusion

..

(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)

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