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Joker Arroyo blows top over snub of nursing exam probe

Joker Arroyo blows top over snub of nursing exam probe

Palace ‘squandering goodwill’

By Veronica Uy
Last updated 01:25pm (Mla time) 08/09/2006

SENATOR Joker Arroyo blasted the snub by officials of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and other agencies of Senate hearings into the nursing examinations leakage and said if reports the no-show was ordered by the executive were true, the order was “idiotic” and “out of line.”

“It would be well for Malacañang to clarify this,” Arroyo said. “It appears that they are itching for a fight which does the country no good. It is the wrong issue at the wrong time.”

Senator Rodolfo Biazon, chair of the committee on civil service and government reorganization, which is investigating the leakage, earlier noted that the letters submitted by invited officials of the PRC, Commission on Higher Education and National Bureau of Investigation explaining their absence at Tuesday’s hearing were almost identical and appeared to have been “dictated” by a single entity.

“Malacañang squanders uselessly and idiotically hard-earned goodwill if it did advise the PRC Commissioners not to attend the Senate hearings on the alleged nursing examination leakages,” Arroyo said. “This is going too far and the Executive is out of line.”

Relations between the Senate and the executive branch have continued to sour as Malacañang continues bar officials of agencies under investigation from attending hearings.

Although the Supreme Court has declared Executive Order (EO) 464 unconstitutional, the Palace says it can continue invoking the controversial edict while the decision remains on appeal.

Aside from the probe into the nursing exam leakage, executives invited to shed light on the status of a welfare fund held by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have also been no-shows despite Senate summons.

But Arroyo noted that Malacañang has nothing to do with the alleged leakage and should not have involved itself by “elevating middle-level executive officials to the category and questionable immunities of Cabinet members.”

He also warned the Palace against continuing to pick a fight with the Senate on the Chamber’s investigative powers.

“The Senate has bent over backwards on the OWWA issue by deferring the OWWA investigations and referring the interpretation of the application of the decision of the Supreme Court on EO 464 to its legal department. Malacañang should not mistake this for weakness,” he said.

It was Arroyo who suggested that hearings into the OWWA funds be deferred until the crisis in the Middle East is over.

Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, chair of the Senate committee on labor and employment looking into the OWWA fund, said the Senate acceded to Arroyo’s suggestion during its Monday night caucus.


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