Duterte vows to 'extract' Duque, other Cabinet members if solons detain them

Published August 31, 2021, 12:30 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III need not worry about being detained for contempt during a Senate or House of Representatives investigation.

President Duterte gestures during his “Talk to the People” public briefing on late Tuesday night, Aug. 31, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

This, after President Duterte vowed to “extract him” or any other Cabinet member for that matter in case the solons exercise their power to detain resource persons that refuse to answer their queries in a satisfactory manner.

“The way you are treating Duque and he cannot even complete his answer without being interrupted. You stand up. Kung mapuno ka na you just stand up (If you get fed up just stand up),” Duterte said during late Monday night’s “Talk to the People” public briefing, which was aired on Tuesday morning, Aug. 31.

“Because if i-contempt ka nila, i-kulong ka nila, maghanap ako ng paraan, makukuha ko kayo (if they cite you in contempt and detain you, I’ll look for a way, I can get you). In 24 hours, I will extract you,” he said.

Duque was recently grilled for hours in a Senate hearing in connection with the Commission on Audit’s (COA) flagging of DOH’s expenses as per its 2020 audit report.

The visibly irate Duterte said in the briefing that he finds the lawmakers’ manner of questioning on government officials disrespectful.

“Nagbabastusan na tayo eh. ‘Pag ‘yan ang gusto ninyo eh ‘di yan ang sunod (We’re being disrespectful. If that what’s you want then that’s what I’ll do).

“You’re getting out of bounds now. Be reasonable and also respect the needs of the human being. Pa-upuin mo nang seven hours tapos i-grill mo, I think malilito talaga. Mawala sa kaikot-ikot ninyong tanong (If you let him sit for seven hours and grill him, I think he will really get confused. He will get confused from the repeated questionings),” he said.

The President also threatened to not allow the Cabinet members to attend such hearings or investigations altogether.

Senators and congressmen have the authority to cite and contempt and then detain in-house a resource person whom they think is not giving truthful answers during a public hearing.

However, it is unclear how this would work if the resource person attended the proceedings virtually–something that became acceptable only last year because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.