Gordon to Duterte: Respect gov’t’s separation of powers
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should respect the separation of powers of the three branches of government, Senator Richard Gordon said Tuesday after the Chief Executive warned Congress against “tinkering” with the COVID-19 vaccination of his close-in security detail.
In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Gordon noted that the three branches of government—the executive, legislative, and judiciary—are independent of each other.
“The adviser should be conscious about him [Duterte] making statements because there are three branches of government. Both are independent of each other and we don’t interfere with the Supreme Court. We don’t want to tinker with the President either.
“But when a matter of national interest and national policy is concerned, and violation of law is concerned— although I am not asking yet for any resolution—I stand by the independence of the Congress. That is the most important thing to me,” said Gordon.
“No one can overwhelm the other and put it into submission. The same way that we cannot bully the executive and threaten them with investigations,” he added.
The senator noted that the President, with his warning to Congress, is behaving as a mayor who tends to protect his own people, referring to Duterte’s long stint as local chief executive in Davao City.
He said he was “quite disturbed” by what the President said but added he was no longer surprised as Duterte often makes such statements “depending on what he is thinking or what he is bothered with at the moment.”
But for Gordon, the law is very clear. “You cannot use, distribute, import without permission from the FDA,” he said.
In his briefing on Monday, Duterte also said he would order members of the Presidential Security Group to either not attend congressional hearings on the issue or to stay silent during such hearings.
“That’s unfortunate because I think he is wrong,” Gordon said of Duterte’s remarks.
“The President has got to respect the separation of powers clause. We took an oath as lawyers to uphold the law and he took an oath as President. We took an oath to do our duty to protect the public,” he added.
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