Duterte: Cabinet members invited to Senate probes should get my clearance first
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he will require Cabinet members to secure his clearance first before they could attend Senate inquiries, adding he will “limit” what the chamber can do if he feels there is “abuse of authority.”
He reasoned that government officials are repeatedly made to attend and sit in hearings for a duration of five to seven hours, with most of them waiting for their turn to be questioned.
“This time, I will require every Cabinet member to clear with me any invitation, and if I think if walang silbi except to harass and be berated in front of the public, hintuin ko na ‘yan at pagbawalan ko na,” he said in a taped public address aired on Tuesday morning.
(If I think there is no purpose to it except to harass and be berated in front of the public, I will stop it. I will bar the Cabinet member from attending.)
“You can cite the person in contempt pero ako na magsabi na ako ang may utos na hindi mag-attend (but I’m letting you know that it was my order for them not to attend). I think I can do it as President,” he added.
The President made the remarks as the Senate continues to investigate the purchase of allegedly overpriced medical supplies in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Duterte also said he will “limit” what the Senate can do over the Executive department since he has the hand over it.
“If I feel there is abuse of authority there or exceeding authority of the reasonable time that the Congress conducts a hearing, I will limit you to what you can do with the Executive department of the government. Dito sa Executive department, I have the hand,” the President said.
“If gusto ko, nakita ko reasonable, go, especially if it’s really pursuant to the truth na hinahanap niyo,” he added.
(If I see that the hearing is reasonable, especially if it’s really pursuant to the truth, I will allow them to attend.)
President earlier threatened to bar Cabinet members from attending congressional inquiries if lawmakers would “rudely” question them.