Duterte issues memo forbidding Cabinet execs from attending Pharmally probe
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a memo formally prohibiting his Cabinet officials from attending the Senate probe on the government’s procurement of allegedly overpriced pandemic supplies last year from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Duterte announced this in his taped weekly briefing that aired late Monday night, during which he took another swipe at Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, which has been conducting the Pharmally probe.
“We cannot allow blatant disrespect of resource persons at the ongoing hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee. Gordon, you are not God and you cannot play God,” Duterte said.
He said he was not against the investigation, but his officials should no longer be involved, especially those involved in the government’s pandemic response.
“‘That Pharmally, as I said, you can crumple it as much as you want,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino. “But don‘t just get my people involved. I am not objecting to your kingdom come, but [don’t involve] the people whom I am relying on to fight COVID-19.”
Duterte also criticized senators for lacking respect for the administration by repeatedly letting officials sit waiting for hours during hearings, which he said was unnecessary.
He reiterated that senators, or even other individuals outside the Senate, should instead file a case in court if they could find any possible crime committed by Pharmally.
“Senate is not a criminal court. Stop using it for your witch hunt,” Duterte said.
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