Duterte threatens to jail senators if they cite Cabinet execs for contempt
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte threatened on Wednesday to have senators jailed if they would cite Cabinet members for contempt during the probe on the government’s purchase of allegedly overpriced pandemic supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
In his latest televised briefing this week, Duterte, speaking partly in Filipino, gave this directive to Cabinet members: “Don’t let Gordon or any senator shout at you and berate you. If they do, stand up and tell them this: ‘I am here to testify to the truth. Don’t yell at me. I am not your servant. I am not your subordinate.’”
Duterte was referring to Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the blue ribbon committee which is conducting the Pharmally hearings.
“If they cite you for contempt, I will jail the senators,” Duterte added.
In a previous briefing, Duterte warned of a constitutional crisis if senators would be rude to Cabinet members during hearings.
He has also signed a memorandum barring Cabinet officials from attending Senate hearings on the Pharmally contracts.
In his briefing, Duterte also said no police or military personnel would follow Senate orders.
He had earlier told police and military not to arrest anyone ignoring the Senate’s subpoenas in its inquiries.