Thursday, February 23, 2012

Arnault vs. Nazareno [G.R. No. L-3820, July 18, 1950]

Facts: On February 27, 1950, the senate adopted a resolution creating a special committee to investigate on the purchase by the government of the Buenavista and Tambobong Estates owned by Ernest Burt as represented by Jean Arnault. 

The committee sought to determine who were responsible for and who benefited from the transaction at the expense of the government. 

The special committee called and examined among other witness, Jean Arnault. However, for the latter’s refusal to answer some questions propounded on him, the names of the person to whom he gave the money as well as answer to the pertinent questions in connection therewith, the Senate resolved to imprison him until such time as he decided to answer relevant questions put to him in connection with the investigation of a government transaction. 

Issue: Whether or not the Senate has the authority to punish petitioner for contempt. 

Held: The supreme court affirmed, considering that the questions were pertinent to the pursuance of the Senate Resolution. 

The supreme court also held that the offender could be imprisoned indefinitely by the state, it being a continuing body, provided that the punishment did not become so long as to violate due process.

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