Palace: Duterte told Galvez to ‘leave’ if senators become ‘verbally abusive’ in hearings
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte told vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to “stand up and leave” should senators become “verbally abusive” during hearings on the Covid-19 vaccination program, Malacañang said Wednesday.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Galvez had asked the President to skip congressional hearings to resume negotiations with vaccine developers.
“In fairness to the President, his answer was, ‘No, go to the Senate, continue answering questions, continue the way that you have been answering. And if they become abusive to you verbally, just stand up and leave. If they cite you in contempt, I will come and fetch you,’” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“So Secretary Galvez and Secretary Duque, if the Senate will have a hearing this Friday, will be there but with the instruction that if anyone becomes verbally abusive to them, they have the license to stand up and leave,” he added.
Duterte lamented the “war-like” demeanor of senators during hearings on the vaccines, Roque said.
“He (Duterte) could not understand why the demeanor of some senators was apparently bellicose-like, they were war-like. Of course, there was like already an attitude as if there was corruption going on when there was fact-finding, in fact,” said the Palace official.
“The President thought, despite the separation of powers, despite the power of oversight, it does not give the senators the license to be abusive,” he went on.
Meanwhile, Duterte already tasked Galvez to disclose the government’s vaccine deals to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Prices of Covid-19 vaccines the government is procuring remain undisclosed despite previous Senate hearings, as officials cited the confidential disclosure agreement (CDA) with pharmaceutical firms.
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