Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, September 25, 2006

Gordon relieved hearings on PCGG suspended

By TJ Burgonio -- Inquirer

THE Senate greeted with relief the Supreme Court order suspending its inquiry into the alleged dissipation of assets belonging to sequestered corporations, freeing Camilo Sabio and staying the arrest warrants on four officials each of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and a sequestered firm.

The senator who chaired the inquiry, the medical staff who watched over Sabio, and the legislative policemen who tracked down the defiant PCGG and Philcomsat Holdings Corp. (PHC) officials for over a week collectively heaved a sigh of relief now that they had been released, albeit temporarily, from their tough tasks.

"We're relieved from the daily hearings, which I wanted to do because there's somebody here under confinement,'' Sen. Richard Gordon said in a phone interview, referring to PCGG chairman Sabio. "But we intend to call again these people to account [for their acts], and craft a law. And the evidence so far obtained by the committee showed that the PCGG has been remiss in its duties.''

Gordon's committee on government corporations conducted daily hearings from September 14, two days after Sabio was taken into Senate custody, until September 18, a day before the PCGG chief underwent an executive checkup at the Makati Medical Center.

Their first face-off on Thursday last week was physically taxing for both Gordon and the hypertensive Sabio because they exchanged taunts and even engaged in a shouting match over the validity of Executive Order No. 1.

The three doctors, two nurses and a nursing aide who worked round-the-clock to keep watch over Sabio, whose blood pressure fluctuated while he was detained at the Senate clinic, were just as relieved as Gordon.

"I felt relieved after being informed that he was released. Now we can rest,'' Dr. Mariano Blancia, chief of the Senate's medical and dental services who often worked the night shift and rotated with two doctors throughout Sabio's detention, said in an interview.

Perhaps, the Senate policemen were the most physically exhausted because they were usually out all day staking out the offices, residences, business addresses and haunts of the defiant officials in the hopes of pinning them down.

Up until the high court issued its order Thursday afternoon, the agents failed to collar PCGG commissioners Ricardo Abcede, Nicasio Conti, Tereso Javier and Narciso Nario, as well as PHC executives Benito Araneta, chair; Philip Brodett, vice president and director; Manuel Andal, treasurer, Julio Jalandoni and Luis Lokin, directors.


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