2014 (Political Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 6

[Answer/discuss the question below. Or see 2014 bar exam Political Law Instructions; 2014 Political Law Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; See also 2014 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]


A few months before the end of the present Congress, Strongwill was invited by the Senate to shed light in an inquiry relative to the alleged siphoning and diverting of the pork barrel of members of Congress to non-existent or fictitious projects. Strongwill has been identified in the news as the principal actor responsible for the scandal, the leader of a non-governmental organization which ostensibly funnelled the funds to certain local government projects which existed only on paper. At the start of the hearings before the Senate, Strongwill refused at once to cooperate. The Senate cited him in contempt and sent him to jail until he would have seen the light. The Congress, thereafter, adjourned sine die preparatory to the assumption to office of the newly-elected members. In the meantime, Strongwill languished behind bars and the remaining senators refused to have him released, claiming that the Senate is a continuing body and, therefore, he can be detained indefinitely. Are the senators right? (4%)


  1. Yes, the Senators are right, provided that the Senate persists in performing the particular legislative function involved. As ruled in the case of Arnault v Nazareno by the Supreme Court, the Senate’s power to punish for contempt in the exercise of its power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation does not cease to exist upon the periodical dissolution of the Congress or of the House of Representatives, because the Senate, for said purpose or in connection with said power, is to be considered a continuing body.
    But the “detaining indefinitely” should also be faced squarely because Strongwill might argue that the power may be abusively and oppressively exerted by the Senate which keep him imprisoned for life. As mentioned also in the decision on the Arnault case, it is assumed that the Senate will not be disposed to exert the power beyond its proper bounds, for otherwise, the person whose rights might be transgressed may petition to court for relief.

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