Duterte tells senators to stop probing ongoing gov't programs

Don't investigate ongoing programs of government agencies.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

President Duterte sent this message to senators during his public address Thursday, Sept. 2, even as he called out the legislators for their habit of "interfering" with the executive branch's affairs.

“Kayong mga lahat sa Senate (All of you in the Senate) --- do not investigate programs which are ongoing...You will derail it, you will delay it by your incessant penchant for investigating government offices. Gusto ninyo lahat pakialaman na lang (You want to interfere in everything)," he said.

Duterte's remarks came amid the series of Senate inquiries on the administration’s handling of government funds appropriated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

The Chief Executive argued that although lawmakers have oversight function, the legislative branch does not have the monopoly of running the government through its inquiries.

He then questioned the Senate’s inquiry of the Department of Health’s (DOH) pandemic response despite having no clear indication of the funds being compromised.

“If the money is there, it is unspent, nobody is stealing it, it is there, and the department has so many programs,” he said.

At the same time, Duterte expressed concern that the legislators may widen their investigation to include other departments such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the task force headed by vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

“Pinapakialaman ninyo si Secretary Galvez eh (You're interfering with Secretary Galvez) You’re trying to muddle up everything by questioning every time how or why he spent the money,” he said.

“The guy is simply trying to even explain to you in every opportunity whether it be it’s a program of government or whether it is really a forum sponsored by government such as this.”

Duterte went on to say that he hopes members of Congress would face similar questioning regarding their conduct someday. Some lawmakers, he said, also committed misdeeds.

"You are the one making a noise, a noise that is just really a noise for no purpose at all but to create a noise," he further said.

Duterte recently singled out Senator Richard Gordon in his late night tirades as he slammed the latter for the way he conducts his hearings over at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.