By Genalyn Kabiling
Senators are no different from other Filipinos and must not insult people attending their legislative hearings, President Duterte said recently.
The President maintained that senators are “not special” beings as he renewed his resolve to protect government personnel from any disrespect during congressional inquiries.
“Mahirap ‘yang ganun na babuyin mo ‘yung mga taga-gobyerno dahil lang… What makes you so special and…? Kasi Senador ka? You are not [It’s not good that you insult those in government. What makes you special? Just because you’re a senator? You are not],” Duterte said during a recent administration campaign event in Marikina City.
“You are no different from every… Pareho tayong Pilipino [We are all Filipinos]. Who gave you the right to insult people?” he added.
Duterte said he has asked government officials to leave a congressional hearing if they are getting rude treatment from the lawmakers. In the event they are detained, he offered to go to Congress and help set them free.
“Kung sigaw-sigawan kayo ng ganun, stand up. Stand up and sabihin mo, “sabi ni Mayor, umuwi kami.” Pupuntahan ko kayo doon, kunin ko kayo [If you’re scolded there, stand up and say, ‘Mayor said we should go home.’ I will go there and get you myself],” he said.
He recalled the rude treatment received by the late Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes from Senator Antonio Trillanes IV during a Senate hearing several years ago. He said Reyes wanted to defend his reputation from corruption allegations but Trillanes shot his request down and told the former military general to sit down since he supposedly had no dignity.
“Sabihin ko kay Trillanes, kayo ni (Magdalo Rep. Gary) Alejano, who gave you the right but — by what universal right do you have to just rob a guy in front of public?” he asked.
“Anong superiority ninyo? Senador kayo? Ah, diyan tayo magka-diperensya [What’s your superiority? You are senators? Ah, that’s where we will have a disagreement],” he said.
He appealed anew to the Senate to show respect towards resource persons, otherwise he will assert his authority to protect those humiliated in inquiries.
“Huwag lang talaga ninyo gawain. ‘Pag ayaw ninyong ibigay, pipilitin ko. ‘Pag pilitin ko nandiyan na. Then we will see [Do not do it. If you don’t want to release them, I will insist and then we will see],” he said.