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Duterte's advice to Galvez: If disrespected on Senate hearings, then walk out

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: UNTV/PCOO

Malacañang said Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte told Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to “stand up and leave” if lawmakers become “verbally abusive” on congressional hearings of the government’s coronavirus vaccination plan.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, in an interview over CNN Philippines, said the vaccine czar asked for permission to Duterte to skip investigative hearings to resume negotiations with pharmaceutical firms.

“In fairness to the President, his answer was, ‘No, go to the Senate, continue answering questions, continue the way that you have been answering. And if they become abusive to you verbally, just stand up and leave. If they cite you in contempt, I will come and fetch you,’” Roque said.

“So Secretary Galvez and Secretary Duque, if the Senate will have a hearing this Friday, will be there but with the instruction that if anyone becomes verbally abusive to them, they have the license to stand up and leave,” Roque added.

The Palace official said Duterte lamented the “war-like” demeanor of senators during vaccination probes.

“He (Duterte) could not understand why the demeanor of some senators was apparently bellicose-like, they were war-like. Of course, there was like already an attitude as if there was corruption going on when there was fact-finding, in fact,” Roque said.

“The President thought, despite the separation of powers, despite the power of oversight, it does not give the senators the license to be abusive,” he went on.

Duterte, meanwhile, tasked Galvez to disclose the vaccine deals to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Prices of vaccines the government is negotiating remain undisclosed amid ongoing hearings, citing confidential documents signed with pharmaceutical companies.


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