President Duterte believes that the senators will get their “karma” sooner or later for the way they’ve been treating resource persons or guests in their marathon investigations.
Duterte had this to say in his latest “Talk to the People” public briefing wherein he again slammed senators for the way they’ve conducted their inquiry on the alleged anomalies in the government’s procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) supplies last year.
“It’s about time that you guys know how to respect people,” Duterte said last Wednesday night, Sept. 22, referring to the members of the Senate.
“Kayong mga nakikinig na Pilipino ngayon na dumaan lahat sa Senado (For all those Filipinos listening who went through the Senate), you remember the — the way you were treated. And when you vote, isipin niyong mabuti kung paano kayo (recall how you were)— how you were maltreated and dishonored,” he said.
The Chief Executive criticized the Senator Richard Gordon-led Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, describing it as a “fish expedition” on more than one occasion. But its probe–which most recently saw the grilling of Pharmally Pharmaceutical officials–hasn’t proven any instance of corruption, Duterte said.
“If you continue to fish, how long would [you] continue to wallow in the water? How long would you catch the fish that I — it’s in your imagination? But to detain a per — someone because you are not getting answers you want to hear is pure oppression. Talagang totoo. Dadating rin araw mo, makakarma rin kayo tingnan ninyo. Makakarma rin kayo, sigurado ‘yan (Truly, your day will eventually come, you will all get your Karma. You will get your karma, for sure),” he said.
Duterte was referring to the Senate’s power to cite a person in contempt and to detain that person. The lawmakers usually cite a person in contempt during the hearings if he or she doesn’t give satisfactory answers to their questions.
“You — you are officials empowered freedoms from arrest, hindi ma-demanda. Sino — so anong gusto ninyo? Kung ang tao walang choice, hindi kayo ma-demanda, mura nang mura kayo, inaabuso ninyo ang Constitution, eh ‘di talagang may gusto kayong mangyari (You can’t be sued. So what do you want? If people don’t have any choice, they can’t sue you, you keep on cursing, and you abuse the Constitution, then you really want something to happen),” Duterte said of the senators.
Administration critics have linked Duterte to Pharmally by way of his former economic adviser, Michael Yang. Pharmally was the upstart, low-capital company that was awarded by government with pandemic response contracts worth nearly P8.68 billion in 2020.
But the President has said that he didn’t care if Pharmally got run over or crumpled by the senators in their probe. For Duterte, the government has already finished its deals with the company and they were above-board.
Showing his disdain for the Senate investigation, Duterte earlier said that he planned to give prior clearance to Cabinet officials before they can attend the hearings. He said the officials summoned to the lenghty hearings end up wasting a lot time anyway.
Duterte has also promised to “extract” Cabinet members who will be detained by the “disrespectful” senators.