Moreover, contrary to the claim of respondents, the Decision in this present case hews closely to the ruling in Senate v. Ermita,21 to wit:
The phrase "executive privilege" is not new in this jurisdiction. It has been used even prior to the promulgation of the 1986 Constitution. Being of American origin, it is best understood in light of how it has been defined and used in the legal literature of the United States.
Schwart defines executive privilege as "the power of the Government to withhold information from the public, the courts, and the Congress. Similarly, Rozell defines it as "the right of the President and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Congress, the courts, and ultimately the public." x x x In this jurisdiction, the doctrine of executive privilege was recognized by this Court in Almonte v. Vasquez. Almonte used the term in reference to the same privilege subject of Nixon. It quoted the following portion of the Nixon decision which explains the basis for the privilege:
"The expectation of a President to the confidentiality of his conversations and correspondences, like the claim of confidentiality of judicial deliberations, for example, he has all the values to which we accord deference for the privacy of all citizens and, added to those values, is the necessity for protection of the public interest in candid, objective, and even blunt or harsh opinions in Presidential decision-making. A President and those who assist him must be free to explore alternatives in the process of shaping policies and making decisions and to do so in a way many would be unwilling to express except privately. These are the considerations justifying a presumptive privilege for Presidential communications. The privilege is fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution x x x " (Emphasis and italics supplied)