Disclose target laws of Senate inquiries
While legislative inquiries in aid of legislation are part of the Senate’s functions, their purpose must be disclosed. A legislative inquiry in aid of legislation is not absolute. Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution limits its exercise. The investigation must be “in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure” and that “the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.”
Complementing this constitutional provision are the Rules of the Senate. Section 1 under Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation says: “The Senate or any of its Committees may conduct formal inquiries or investigations in aid of legislation in accordance with these Rules. Such inquiries may refer to the implementation or re-examination of any law or appropriation, or in connection with any proposed legislation or the formulation of, or in connection with future legislation, or will aid in the review or formulation of a new legislative policy or enactment. They may also extend to any and all matters vested by the Constitution in Congress and/or in the Senate alone.”
The power of inquiry is indeed inherent in the Senate, since it cannot legislate efficiently if it lacks information. However, every time it conducts legislative inquiries in aid of legislation, the Senate should disclose publicly the list of laws that are planned to be made, amended, or repealed following the inquiry, to prove the point that the power vested in it is valuable and useful in legislation. Otherwise, the probes it conducts would just be seen as freewheeling talkfests.
REGINALD B. TAMAYO
Marikina City [email protected]
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