NEWSFLASH

PEREZ INHIBITION PLEA DENIED, JAN 14 HEARING PUSHES THROUGH

MANILA, January 10, 2003 (STAR) 
By Romel Bagares  - There are no longer any legal impediments to the first hearing on administrative charges leveled against former justice secretary Hernando Perez, which will be held as scheduled at the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) on Jan. 14.

PAGC Chairman Dario Rama denied the other day a motion filed by Perez last Dec. 27 asking him to inhibit himself from hearing the administrative charges filed against him before the anti-graft body.

"The motion is bereft of merit," Rama said in a four-page order he transmitted to Perezís lawyers.

Perez faces a charge of obstruction of justice, among others, before the PAGC in connection with an order he issued last Nov. 16 when he was still justice secretary.

The order enjoined the Bureau of Immigration from releasing the travel records of top government officials ranging from the President to members of the Cabinet and the legislature, in violation of the Constitution and other administrative laws.

The PAGC said Perez may have violated Presidential Decree 1829, which prohibits acts constituting obstruction of justice; the Administrative Code of 1987; and Republic Act 6713, also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and the constitutional provisions on access to information.

In a seven-page rejoinder, Perez denied the charge, saying his memorandum order did not involve restriction of information but only its regulation. He also explained that he issued the order "in view of the present threats of terrorism that may endanger lives and safety of public officials."


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