Ping Seeks Inquiry on Executive Session Leak, Rules Violation

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson today sought a formal inquiry on how inside information from last week’s executive session on the allegedly anomalous National Broadband Network deal investigation was leaked to the media. 

Lacson, who earlier delivered a privilege speech on the spurious deal with China’s ZTE Corporation, said the inquiry intends to protect the inviolability of the “code of silence” covering the Senate’s executive sessions.

“I am one with other senators who felt offended when details of what occurred in the supposedly closed-door session came out. Nonetheless, I feel that not only those who made the leak violated the rules on executive sessions but an official of Malacañang as well,” he said.

Lacson earlier questioned the attendance of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. during the executive session with former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Romulo Neri Wednesday last week.

He noted that Andaya’s presence as supposed counsel to Neri may lead to arguments on whether an executive session indeed took place at that time, since Andaya cannot act as legal counsel because he is Neri’s fellow Cabinet member.

“Secretary Andaya’s presence virtually defeated the purpose of the executive caucus, which was to allow Neri to speak unhindered with nobody pulling his strings,” Lacson said.

He said it was obviously Malacañang’s simple way of thwarting whatever damage Neri would cause with his testimony in the closed-door meeting

Earlier news reports quoting unnamed sources said Neri was about to tell all on what he knows in the alleged bribery mess surrounding the NBN-ZTE deal during the executive session but that the alleged intervention of a pro-administration senator and the presence of Andaya prevented him from doing so.