Duterte Cabinet

Duterte dares Senate committee to take snub order to Supreme Court

Loreben Tuquero
Duterte dares Senate committee to take snub order to Supreme Court

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Palace on October 4, 2021. SIMEON CELI/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

SIMEON CELI/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

'Hindi man ako siguradong manalo, panalo doon, pero gusto ko lang makita ng Supreme Court 'yung pagkabastos ng mga senador,' says President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte was not only unwilling to take back his memorandum ordering members of his Cabinet to ignore the Senate probe into alleged pandemic corruption, but he also wanted the senators to take it to the Supreme Court.

During the first part of his address aired on Wednesday, October 6, Duterte did not waste time in addressing again the Senate blue ribbon committee.

“It’s good for the people to be learned of the things that we are doing so that alam ninyo ang ano mangyayari sa gobyerno lalo na ngayon ay may gulo dito sa Congress (You know what is happening, especially now that there’s trouble in Congress),” he said.

Earlier that day, after Duterte ordered them to ignore the Senate blue ribbon committee hearings, Cabinet members and officials snubbed the Senate hearing on the alleged corruption in the administration’s pandemic response.

So may konting gasgas ngayon, baka umabot ito ng kalayuan (There’s a scuffle, it might go farther), eventually I think this will reach the Supreme Court. I am saying that, I am not saying that I am all correct. I may be wrong, but I have to protect the executive department from the incessant and steady dose of insults coming from the senators,” Duterte said.

Senators called the memorandum “unconstitutional,” and Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said it only appeared to cover that specific Senate committee hearing. Counterpart hearings by the House committee on good governance and accountability were even praised by Duterte.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra refused to comment on the constitutionality of the memorandum, while also repeating the executive department’s line that 10 hearings should have already been enough for the committee to craft amendments or new legislation. He then suggested that “certain adjustments” from the committee or a compromise be made between both sides.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Bar Association also agreed that the Palace’s memorandum was a “clear violation of our Constitution” and urged Duterte to recall the directive. 

But Duterte said there “ain’t no way” he would withdraw it, and he was willing to see it go further. “You can do your worst and I will do mine,” he said.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. gave updates on the country’s vaccination program, and Duterte considered it a case of how attendance in Senate hearings can “derail” Galvez’ duties. 

Kabalastugan na nga ito eh. That’s why I want them to go to the Supreme Court. Gusto kong makita ng footage ng behavior nila during- I want it recorded in history. ‘Yung pangyayari sa Senate, and how they behave badly,” Duterte said.

(This is nonsense. That’s why I want them to go to the Supreme Court. I want that footage of their behavior during- I want it recorded in history. What happened in the Senate, and how they behave badly.)

Duterte said his goal was to show the behavior of the senators involved in the probe. “Hindi man ako siguradong manalo, panalo doon, pero gusto ko lang makita ng Supreme Court ‘yung pagkabastos ng mga senador. ‘Yun lang naman ang habol ko doon, manalo, talo, we cannot speculate on that,” he said.

(I am not sure I can win, but I want the Supreme Court to see how rude the senators are. That’s the only thing I want. Win, lose, we cannot speculate on that.)

Civility?

At the Senate hearing, Senator Francis Pangilinan said they would raise questions to the absent officials in the budget hearings.

Duterte berated Pangilinan in his speech and even called the senator a “comedian.” He said, “Who are you to threaten or even to intimidate government workers? Pareho lang tayo nasa gobyerno (We are both in the government).” 

Duterte added that their guide in conducting their work was the Constitution. 

He told the senators that their lawmaking power do not include “berating people, shouting at people, forgetting the civility that has to be observed by everybody in and out of investigation.”

Yet, in the same speech, Duterte cursed Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon more than once, going on a tirade against him in the last several minutes of the second part of his speech.

He punctuated the last portion of his public broadcast with threats to chase Gordon and smack him on the head, saying, “’Wag ka ngang mayabang diyan, tanginang Gordon na ‘to (Don’t be arrogant, Gordon, this son of a bitch).”

He enunciated Gordon’s nickname “Dick,” and made comments about his body, saying “‘Yung kurbata mo bumili ka ng medyo malaki para- ‘yung tiyan mo nahuhulog na doon sa puson mo, putangina ka (You should buy a sizeable sword, your stomach is falling past your navel, you son of a bitch).” – Rappler.com

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.