Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima chided Mr. Duterte for continuously acting as “attorney-outlaw” of Chinese businessman Michael Yang and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. officials, following his decision to keep Cabinet officials off the Senate probe on overpriced COVID-19 medical supplies despite plea from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
De Lima, a social justice and human right champion, lamented how Duterte allegedly rebuffed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s recommendation to recall Malacañang’s controversial Oct. 4 memorandum banning all executive officials from taking part in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry.
“The DOJ revealed that Duterte spurned Secretary Guevarra’s advice to him to recall his order preventing executive officials from appearing before the Blue Ribbon Committee’s Pharmally hearings,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Patuloy lang na tumatayong abogado ni Michael Yang at Pharmally si Duterte, at kahit sarili nyang DOJ ay di na niya pinapakinggan. Sobrang garapal ang Pangulo sa pagtatanggol sa mga mandarambong,” she added.
Earlier, Duterte required Cabinet members to secure his clearance first before attending Senate inquiries. His statement came as the Senate continues to investigate the purchase of allegedly overpriced medical supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the link of his former economic adviser Yang to anomalous contracts.
During the deliberations on the proposed budget of the DOJ, Guevarra admitted that he was rebuffed by Duterte when he tried to initiate a review of Malacañang’s controversial Oct. 4 memorandum imposing the said ban.
Notably, Senate leaders earlier petitioned the Supreme Court to strike down the directive issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on behalf of the president for being unconstitutional.
In a separate statement, De Lima said she believes that Duterte is willing to go the extra mile if it means saving the Davao mafia in their 8.7 billion heist.
“Duterte acting as attorney-outlaw of Yang and Pharmally officials is not surprising. Kaya niyang balewalain ang batas para lang pagtakpan at ipagtanggol ang mga tiwaling sangkot sa pandarambong. Ano nga bang mapapala ni Duterte, bakit nya pilit pinagtatakpan ang anomalyang ito? Halatang siya ang mastermind ng katiwaliang ito,” she said. (30)