Duterte to block Cabinet members from appearing in Senate probe

Published October 1, 2021, 7:08 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

A visibly furious President Duterte revealed that he has ordered Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to prepare a memorandum directing those under the Executive Branch of government to “not obey” the summons coming from the Senate, saying it is overstepping its jurisdiction.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine Red Cross chairman Senator Richard Gordon (FILE PHOTOS/MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the statement as the Senate continues to investigate the alleged anomalous transactions of the government when it bought coronavirus (COVID-19) supplies from pharmaceutical company Pharmally.

In his pre-recorded public address late Thursday, September 30, the President criticized Senator Richard Gordon anew, this time for his remarks saying that the Senate’s probe will continue “until Kingdom come.”

According to the President, he will no longer allow Cabinet members and other witnesses from the Executive Branch to appear in the Senate probe.

“I have ordered Secretary Medialdea to prepare the — Executive Secretary — I will issue a memorandum na lahat ng nasa (that everyone in the) Executive department will no longer obey your summons kasi kingdom come ka (because you will do it until Kingdom come).” he said.

“You are overstepping your jurisdiction on this. This is — there is an abuse of discretion already,” he added.

According to the President, Gordon’s remarks have no place in a democratic country like the Philippines

“This is not an acceptable statement in a democracy. We are run by laws and rules and you cannot do that for us for you to wait for ‘Kingdom come,'” he said.

“Kailan ito matapos kingdom come? Who are you to say that? Sabi ko that is a very undemocratic statement (When is this ‘Kingdom come’ coming? Who are you to say that? I said that is a very undemocratic statement),” he added.

Duterte said that people leading the government’s pandemic response like Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. are wasting their time in the Senate probe.

He told them to just ignore Senator Gordon.

“Redirect your attention to our problem of pandemic. Never mind Gordon, he is nothing,” he said.

The Senate has recently concluded its 10th hearing on the issue.