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ROMULO VS. NERI GR.

180643
FACTS
Romulo Neri, director of National Economic Development Authority was
summoned to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on September
26, 2007 to clarify matters regarding the ZTE-NBN deal (project) of the
government. Its a National Broadband Network project by the Department of
Transportation and Communication awarded to the Chinese owned Ziong Xing
Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE). On the same hearing, Neri disclosed
before the members of the committee that there was an attempt to bribe him for
P200 million just for him to approve the project. He further said that the person
who tried to bribe him was COMELEC chairman Abalos. After the attempt bribery,
Neri told President Arroyo about the incident and the later said to no accept the
bribe but continue with the project. After the said disclosures, Neri was asked
regarding several details of the conversation between him and President Arroyo
which pertains to the said project. Neri tried to avoid answering said questions,
thus invoked Executive Privilege. Neri once again was asked to appear before the
same committee on November 20, 2007 but failed to appear following the orders
of President Arroyo and still invoking Executive Privilege. On January 30, 2008,
Neri was cited in contempt for non-appearance.
PROCEDURE
January 30, 2008
Committee
January 30, 2008
February 1, 2008

Romulo Neri was cited in contempt by Senate Blue Ribbon

Neri moved for Reconsideration of contempt order


Neri filed Supplemental Petition for Certiorari (with urgent
application for TRO/Preliminary Injunction)
February 4, 2008 Court issued a Resolution requiring parties to observe status
quo prevailing prior to the Order on January 30, 2008
March 25, 2008
The Court granted Neris petition for Certiorari on two
grounds (Neris covered by Executive Privilege and Grave
Abuse of Discretion on part of Senate Blue Ribbon
Committee)
April 8, 2008
Senate
Blue
Ribbon
Committee
filed
Motion
for
Reconsideration
September 4, 2008The Court denied respondents Motion for Reconsideration
ISSUE
Whether the communications between Romulo Neri and President Arroyo about
the NBN-ZTE deal were covered by the Executive Privilege?
DECISION
The Supreme Court issued a resolution penned by Justice Leonardo-De Castro
denying the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Senate Blue Ribbon Committee
on April 8, 2008.
REASONING
The Supreme Court sided with the petitioner saying that the would-be-answers to
the questions of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee pertaining to ZTE-NBN
project are covered by Executive Privilege. The Court further explained that
claiming such is highly recognized in cases where the subject of inquiry relates to
a power given by the Constitution to the President in situation where
communications, documents or other materials that reflect presidential

decision-making and deliberations and that the President believes should remain
confidential.
RULE OF THE CASE
Wherefore, respondent Committee Motion for Reconsideration dated April 8,
2008 is hereby denied.