Gordon: Duterte order barring Cabinet execs from Senate probe ‘unconstitutional’
MANILA, Philippines — The memorandum issued by President Rodrigo Duterte prohibiting his Cabinet officials from attending the Senate probe on the government’s procurement of allegedly overpriced pandemic supplies is “totally unconstitutional”, Senator Richard Gordon said Tuesday.
Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said that by issuing the memorandum, Duterte is “violating the Constitution”.
“I would just like to say, Mr. President, yung in-issue nyong memorandum is totally unconstitutional. Wala kayong karapatan dyan, you are violating the Constitution (You have no right to do that, you are violating the Constitution),” Gordon said.
“Walang issue ng national security dito, walang executive privilege dito, walang diplomatic discussions (There is no issue of national security here, no executive privilege, no diplomatic discussions),” he added.
Gordon likewise lamented that Duterte is seemingly defending those involved in the issue.
“Presidente na ho kayo ng buong bansa pero ang lumalabas, pinagtatakpan ninyo at pinagtatanggol ninyo yung mga mandarambong… From the very beginning na talagang ayaw ninyong palabasin yung mga taong dapat humarap dito,” Gordon said.
(You are the President of the country but it seems you are covering up and protecting those involved… From the very beginning, you did not want the people who should face us to come out.)
Duterte announced the issuance of the memorandum in his taped weekly briefing that aired late Monday night.
The President said he was not against the investigation, but his officials should no longer be involved, especially those working on the government’s pandemic response.
“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.
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