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Biazon warns PRC, NBI execs of arrest

Biazon warns PRC, NBI execs of arrest

By Juliet Labog-Javellana
Last updated 07:28pm (Mla time) 09/19/2006

THE Senate may end up hosting more detainees if four officials of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) snub the fourth hearing of the Senate inquiry into the June 2006 nursing licensure examinations leakage on Wednesday.

“If they do not attend, we will arrest them,'' said Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, acting chair of the Senate civil service and government reorganization committee.

Last September 1, the committee had asked PRC chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero and commissioners Renato Valdecantos and Avelina de la Rea, as well as NBI anti-fraud and computer crimes division chief Elfren Meneses Jr. to explain why they snubbed the first three hearings on the controversy.

The “show cause” order is the last step before a Senate committee issues a contempt citation which in turn will pave the way for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the Senate no-shows.

After being repeatedly rebuffed by the administration, the Senate last week began to assert its authority to compel attendance at its inquiries.

It ordered the arrest of Presidential Commission on Good Government Chair Camilo Sabio, commissioners Ricardo Abcede, Nicasio Conti, Tereso Javier and Narciso Nario and officials of the Philippine Communications Satellite Corp.

Only Sabio has been arrested.

Lou Zulueta, secretary of the civil service committee, said the three PRC commissioners and Meneses have replied to Biazon's show cause order, invoking Memorandum Circular No. 108, which prescribes guidelines for officials summoned to congressional inquiries.

Zulueta said they also cited their attendance at a separate investigation by the House of Representatives.

She said she was apprehensive about the Senate arresting women.

“I'm a little nervous because these are women. If there is a warrant of arrest, I want to know from our legal (counsel) if we can ask the help of the Philippine National Police in serving the warrants and where we would keep them,” Zulueta said.

Sabio was detained at the Senate clinic because of his fluctuating blood pressure.

On Tuesday he was released to undergo an executive checkup on condition he showed up for hearings. But Sabio has insisted on returning to the Senate to await the Supreme Court decision on his petition for habeas corpus.

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