Duque: Senators’ questions on pandemic deals were normal, relevant
MANILA, Philippines — The questions of senators probing the allegedly overpriced medical supplies for pandemic response were “normal” and “relevant,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday, amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s criticism of the manner of questioning during the Senate inquiries.
Duque noted that he participated in all Senate investigations on the pandemic deals before President Rodrigo Duterte issued a memorandum order formally prohibiting his Cabinet officials from attending the probe being conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee.
“In so far as I am concerned, the questions that were asked of me, I answered them and the questions were normal. I think the questions were relevant to the point that I have answered to the best of my knowledge and with the support of my undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and directors,” Duque said when interviewed on ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.
Asked about Duterte’s remarks that Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon committee, has gone overboard in his manner of questioning, Duque replied: “It is done in his (Duterte) own observations of the hearings because we know that he watches the hearings.”
“‘Yun ang kanyang (That’s his) assessment of the hearings so I do not want to impose anything or second guess the President. It’s not right to do that,” added Duque.
Duterte earlier criticized the Senate investigations on the procurement of medical supplies, saying that the counterpart hearings of the House of Representatives were “more sane” as witnesses were “allowed to talk.”
“We could not get a thorough answer from the Senate because it is presided over by a despot Gordon who does the talking. He cannot help but talk. He interrupts the resource persons with questions and cutting them off and providing the answer,” Duterte said.
On Wednesday, Duque agreed with fellow doctors that the executive department should not block Cabinet officials from attending the inquiry being conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee.
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