Duterte’s attacks vs Senate could trigger constitutional crisis – De Lima

Published September 15, 2021, 9:56 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Detained opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima on Wednesday, Sept. 15 filed Senate Resolution (PSR) 898 urging President Duterte to refrain from making statements intended to diminish the respect due to the Senate or any of its members.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution (PSR) 898 expressing the sense of the Senate that the President should show courtesy to a co-equal institution following Duterte’s recent verbal attacks against senators and the institution.

“It behooves each of the branches of our government to treat each other with courtesy in the performance of their respective constitutional mandates,” she said.

“Petty, inflammatory, and personal statements by the President against the Senate or any of its members only lead to the erosion of public trust and confidence in our democratic institutions,” she added.

Last Aug. 18, the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon Committee) chaired by Senator Richard Gordon commenced an investigation on the possible misuse of COVID-19 funds

In response to the investigation, Duterte, in a public address, ranted about Gordon for supposedly “show[ing] off” and went on to mock his looks, as well as that of Senator Panfilo ‘’Ping’’ M. Lacson. He also recently vent his ire against Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, by resurrecting old issues which the latter dismissed as “false intrigues”.

Duterte went as far as saying that the Senate should not investigate ongoing programs of government agencies as it purportedly causes delays in their progress, and further called on the public not to believe its investigations claiming that they only result to “nothing” – a claim debunked by senators themselves.

De Lima stressed that as the leader of the nation, the President must set a good example in allowing democratic processes to run their course without undue interference, much less cheap political attacks that do not aid in uncovering the truth behind anomalous government transactions.

“Transparency and accountability are cornerstones of our democracy and our institutions must work together, rather than hindering each other, in making sure that our people’s money are well spent and that the public officials are being held accountable for the funds entrusted to them,” she said.

“Any public attempt at discrediting the Senate and preventing the same and any of its committees from performing its mandate could result in a constitutional crisis which serves to weaken our republic to the detriment of our people,” she added.

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