Duque skips Senate’s Pharmally probe, cites Duterte order
MANILA, Philippines — Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday skipped the Senate investigation on the government’s procurement of allegedly overpriced pandemic supplies.
Duterte, in his taped weekly briefing that aired late Monday night, announced the issuance of a memorandum prohibiting his Cabinet officials from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe.
“I cannot [attend] since the Memo from the OP (Office of the President) covers me as part of the executive department which bars us from attending,” Duque said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
According to the office of Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which is handling the inquiry, only officials from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Commission on Audit (COA) are present among invited government agencies.
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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