Lex Rex Ph

BASECO vs. PCGG Digest

Facts

BASECO (Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Co. Inc.) challenged the PCGG sequestration orders issued in accordance with EOs 1 and 2 of President Cory Aquino. PCGG was directed to (1) sequester the BASECO and 8 other companies with minimum disruption, (2) produce certain documents, (3) terminate services to BASECO executives. BASECO contends, among others, that such sequestration is a violation against its right against self-incrimination and unreasonable searches and seizures.

Issue

Is PCGG’s sequestration order against BASECO a violation of BASECO’s right against self-incrimination and unreasonable searches and seizures?

Ruling

No.

  1. Right against self-incrimination has no application to juridical persons.
    • Corporations cannot refuse incriminating questions because it is vested with special privileges and franchises by the government, and they must show their hand when charged.
    • Moreover, no search was undertaken by the PCGG, so BASECO cannot invoke its right against self-incrimination.
  2. Corporations are a creation of the State, for public benefit
    • Its rights are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation.
    • It would be a strange anomaly to hold that a state could not inquire whether its franchises/privileges granted were abused, and cannot demand the production of the corporate books and papers for that purpose.

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