President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines not to obey any orders from Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon for them to assist the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms in arresting Cabinet members who refuse to attend his “despotic” hearings.
In his remarks during the “Talk to the Nation” last night (Sept. 30), Pres. Duterte said Gordon has overstepped his jurisdiction and abuse his power of contempt in his unending efforts to unearth what he believes are anomalies committed in the multi-billion peso procurement of Covid 19 personal protective equipment with Pharmally last year.
President Duterte said this investigation is not about Pharmally. “He (Gordon) wants to look for anything to be thrown against me,” the President said. But he will find nothing, he added. “I am now about to end my term as President, so why should I start stealing from government when I could have done it long ago,” he said.
The President said he and his Cabinet members are content with the salaries they are getting from government. “Kung gusto kong magka-pera dapat noon pa when I was City Mayor of Davao City,” he said.
Gordon went out of bounds when he declared that he will pursue this investigation “till Kingdom come.”
Only Jesus Christ had said that before, President Duterte said. “Now, you are the second one to use that phrase,” he added.
“You are pushing us toward a constitutional crisis,” President Duterte said.
He has asked Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to issue a memorandum to all Cabinet members and other officials of the Executive Branch to ignore any order or summons issued by Gordon.
Gordon is wasting the time of Cabinet members, he said.
For instance, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III attended the hearing yesterday and simply sat there for many hours without being asked a single question.
“My Cabinet members have many urgent things to look after, and these hearings are distracting them from doing their job,” the President said.
President Duterte said that the consequence of ignoring subpoenas from the Blue Ribbon committee is that Gordon will order the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest these Cabinet members.
“I will tell the Sergeant-at-Arms not to force the issue as I will block any such arrest,” the President said.
And if the Sergeant-at-Arms requests the PNP and the military to assist him in carrying out the arrest, the President said that as commander-in-chief, he is ordering uniformed personnel not to obey such requests.