Sotto on Duterte’s warning: ‘Who in heaven’s name told him I’m calling for the PSG?’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may have been “misinformed” and “misled” that his security aides would be summoned to a Senate probe for allegedly getting unregistered vaccines against COVID-19, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Tuesday.
“He is misinformed,” Sotto said in a text message when asked about Duterte’s call on Congress not to “tinker” with the PSG.
“I’m the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole as Senate President. The topic of my hearing is the roadmap for the P72.5 B for vaccines. Who in heaven’s name told him I’m calling for the PSG? I think the President is being misled,” the Senate leader went on.
The Senate has already constituted itself into the Committee of the Whole to look into the government’s vaccination plan against Covid-19.
But will the Senate summon the PSG should there be a separate probe on the issue? Sotto asked, “Who will? What committee? Health? Ask Bong. Defense? Ask Ping.” He was referring to Senators Christopher “Bong” Go and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who head the Senate committees on health and defense, respectively.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said the Committee of the Whole should summon the PSG chief, Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, to shed light on this issue.
In his weekly briefing on Monday, Duterte warned Congress against summoning his security to a hearing.
“I would like to call on Congress — I’m not pleading — what I only want is, in plain words: Do not tinker with the PSG. I am telling you as President: It’s a matter of self-preservation,” the President said.
“That’s all for me. I will not elaborate on it. But do not force my hand to meddle into this because maybe I will not… I am not so keen about allowing Durante and the rest of PSG to testify,” he added.
Duterte also directed the PSG to shut up and invoke the right against self- incrimination.
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