Duterte ‘welcomes’ Senate’s move to challenge his memo directing Cabinet to ignore summons

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) — President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the Senate’s decision to question before the Supreme Court his memorandum directing Cabinet members to ignore the chamber’s summons amid its probe into the government’s procurement of medical supplies for COVID-19 response.

“At last, the members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee have finally seen the light. We welcome this move of bringing the legality of the memorandum to the Supreme Court,” Duterte said in his address aired Monday night.

“This is, by far, the most decent thing the committee has done, and we are most eager to answer whatever questions you have regarding my not allowing officials of the executive to attend your hearings,” he added.

Early this month, Duterte signed the memorandum barring officials of the executive department from attending the Senate panel's hearings.

He has repeatedly criticized senators for requiring Cabinet members to attend hearings, saying it hampers the government’s pandemic response.

Senators said Duterte’s memo is “unconstitutional.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra expressed willingness to review Duterte’s memo, but stressed the need for both sides to make adjustments.

In his public address Monday night, Duterte again attacked Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Blue Ribbon Committee investigating the government’s purchase of medical supplies.

Ito dapat si Gordon maglipat dapat sa judiciary kasi doon sya magsigaw-sigaw... this is not feudal times, you have to be courteous. If you want to be treated with courtesy, you have to practice it,” the President said.

[Translation: Gordon should transfer to the judiciary where he could scream.]