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Duterte warns of ‘trouble in government’ if officials detained by Gordon, Senate


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President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday threatened that there will be "trouble in government" if his Cabinet officials were ordered detained by the Senate, which is conducting a probe into the "overpriced" COVID-19 supply procurement.

Duterte, who devoted the first part of the televised Talk To the People briefing to the Senate blue ribbon investigation headed by Senator Richard Gordon, again defended the government's purchases, saying the supplies were neither overpriced nor corrupted.

The President also said Gordon was acting "kind of a despot" at the committee.

"Balang araw may isang tao magtindig sa 'yo, tignan mo. One of these days there will be somebody who will stand up against you and say, 'P—ng ina kayong lahat. Nagpunta ako dito para malaman natin ang totoo. Huwag mo akong bastusin, huwag mo akong sigawan kasi—' You know what, 'yun ang advice ko rin sa military, keep the dignity of your rank as being soldier," Duterte said.

(One day, there will be someone who will stand up against you, just see. One of these days, there will be somebody who will stand up against you and say, 'Curse you all. I went here to learn the truth. Do not be rude to me, do not shout at me because...' You know what, that is also my advice to the military, keep the dignity of your rank as being soldier.)

"Huwag kayong pumayag na sigaw-sigawan kayo ni Dick Gordon. Just stand up and go out. I said if the sergeant-at -arms, i-detain ka then once I hear about it, I will go to the Senate and get you and extract you. 'Yan talaga ang mangyayari. Then Senator Gordon, we will be having trouble in government," he further pointed out.

(Do not allow Dick Gordon to shout at you. Just stand up and go out. I said if the sergeant-at-arms detains you and once I hear about it, I will go to the Senate and get you and extract you. That is what will really happen.)

"Then, Mr. Gordon, we will be having a crisis."

Gordon on Monday insisted that there is "intrinsic overpricing" in the purchase of the P8.68 billion worth of COVID-19 supply procurement by Department of Budget and Management- Procurement Service from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

In a previous taped public address, Duterte also barred his Cabinet officials from attending the Senate probe into the said purchase.

Duterte however allowed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to continue attending the Senate probe to complete their stories.

"We do not question the authority and the power of the Senate to investigate in aid of legislation, but I saw that you call almost so many persons to hearings that lasted five, six, seven hours, and yet some of them are just waiting and doing nothing," he said in Filipino.

Aside from the Senate,  a House panel has also begun an investigation into the supposed overpricing of COVID-19 supplies. — BM/KG, GMA News

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