Cabinet members still willing to attend Senate hearings, says Roque

Published October 4, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said members of the Duterte Cabinet do not mind attending the Senate’s hearings on the government’s controversial deal with pharmaceutical firm Pharmally, saying they have nothing to hide.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement as the Senate continues its probe on the alleged overpriced and tampered coronavirus (COVID-19) supplies that the government purchased from the said company.

In his press briefing on Monday, October 4, Roque said he was unaware if the President has proceeded with his plan to issue a memorandum banning workers of the Executive Branch to attend Senate probes.

Despite this, he said Cabinet members are still willing to attend hearings because they have nothing to hide.

“While the Cabinet officials appreciate the concern of the President, eh sila naman po (for them), for purposes of transparency, pupunta pa rin sa Senado dahil wala naman pong tinatago (they will still go to the Senate because they are not hiding anything),” he said.

Roque said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was one of the people who expressed willingness to continue participating in the Senate hearings.

Meanwhile, the Palace official said that it is already clear that the hearings are conducted because it is election time.

“After 21 hearings, malinaw na kung ipagpapatuloy ‘yan, pulitika na po ang dahilan (it’s clear that if they continue this, it’s because of politics),” Roque said.

“Not in aid of legislation—in aid of elections,” he added.

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

Duterte’s remarks came after Senator Richard Gordon said that the Senate’s probe will continue “until Kingdom come.”

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