Palace can't bar Yang, Lao from attending Senate probes--Sotto | Inquirer News
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Palace can’t bar Yang, Lao from attending Senate probes–Sotto

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:18 PM September 15, 2021
Palace can't bar Yang, Lao from attending Senate probes--Sotto

Senate President Sotto Vicente III. Senate PRIB file photo / Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte may block his Cabinet men from attending Senate hearings but not his former economic adviser, Michael Yang, and other personalities being dragged into the controversial Pharmally deals with the government.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III made this clear as he asserted the Senate’s power to issue subpoenas and warrants of arrest against resource persons.

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“Hindi naman pwedeng pigilan ng executive department yung mga hindi government officials. Ang pwede lang pigilan yung Cabinet officials pero si Michael Yang hindi naman Cabinet yun,” Sotto said over Teleradyo.

(The executive department can’t  prohibit those who are not government officials.  They can  prevent Cabinet officials  but not Michael  Yang, he’s not  part of the Cabinet.)

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Senators  learned  from ongoing  investigation that Yang helped financed the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. that won over P8.6-billion worth of contracts from government last year when its paid-up capital was only P625, 000.

Like Yang, Sotto said, resigned Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and Pharmally Director Linconn Ong could not  be barred from appearing before the Senate probes.

“Hindi na sya gobyerno, nag resign sya e,” the Senate leader said, referring to Lao. “Hindi na sila pwedeng pigilan. Nasa power ngayon ng  Senado yung either i-subpoena sila or i warrant of arrest sila.”

(He is no longer in government, he already resigned. They can’t be barred. It’s now within the power of the Senate to either subpoena or issue a warrant of arrest against them.)

Both Yang and Ong were placed under arrest by the Senate blue ribbon committee for being evasive during one its hearings  on the issue.

But in his latest address to the nation aired on Tuesday, Duterte said he would no longer allow his Cabinet members to attend the probe without getting his clearance first.

“There are only two ways na pwedeng puntahan ng executive department— either  they block or they unblock,” Sotto said.

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But because the Senate has its own powers, he said the chamber  could still “unblock” and find out  whether public  funds were  indeed  spent to procure overpriced  medical supplies  from Pharmally.

“Ipapapaala ko nga sa kanilang lahat na tayo meron tayong tinatawag na three branches of government, separation of powers yan e.  May powers sarili ang executive, meron ang Judiciary, meron  din ang legislative,”  Sotto said.

(I’m reminding them that we have so-called three branches of government, that’s separation of powers.  The  Executive has its own powers, as well as the Judiciary and the Legislative.)

“E  kami talagang  may power kaming binigay ng Konstitusyon na mag imbestiga. Kasama sa trabaho namin yan. Kaya pag sinabi nyong gawin nyo ang trabaho nyo, ginagawa namin,” he added.

(And we really have the power provided for in the Constitution to investigate. That’s part of our job. That’s why when you tell us to do our job, we are doing our job.)

JPV

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TAGS: Controversy, corruption, Legislation, Pharmally, Rodrigo Duterte, Senate, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
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