Senate adopts resolution challenging Duterte memo before SC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — The Senate on Tuesday adopted a resolution seeking to challenge before the Supreme Court the legality of President Rodrigo Duterte's order barring executive officials from attending hearings of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

The chamber quickly adopted Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III's resolution, filed on the same day, which calls for the Senate's filing of a petition in the high court to assert its power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.

Last month, Duterte issued a memorandum forbidding Cabinet officials from attending hearings looking into the alleged misuse of COVID-19 pandemic response funds worth over ₱67 billion.

Among the biggest issues raised was the deal made by the government with Pharmally Pharmaceutical to procure alleged overpriced face masks and face shields.

In Proposed Resolution No. 946, Sotto stressed it is the "inherent right and solemn duty" of the Senate to seek judicial relief and affirmation of its rights and prerogatives when such are challenged or interfered with by the government or any individual.

Senators called Duterte's directive "unconstitutional," while hundreds of medical professionals also stood up against the order which they described as an obstruction to the Senate committee's probe.

In a previous address, the President welcomed the Senate's planned move to bring his snub order to the Supreme Court, saying Malacañang would be "most eager" to defend the directive.