PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appealed to Congress to respect government officials summoned to its hearings, noting that he had instructed his officials to leave if they feel degraded.
“I’m telling Congress now with due, with the utmost respect; please treat them as if they are really a general, a Cabinet member and officer. Do not demean them before the public,” Duterte said during the founding anniversary of the Chinese Filipino Business Club at the Manila Hotel Monday night.
The President made the remark after his special assistant Christopher “Bong” Go testified in a Senate inquiry into the P18-billion Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP) of the Philippine Navy, also Monday.
Go has denied allegations that he meddled in the warship deal by favoring one supplier over another.
Duterte said it was wrong for lawmakers to treat any of his officials as if they were already guilty.
“You have already assumed na totoo ‘yan, hinuhuli mo lang ang tao (that it is true. You’re just trying to catch him lying). You berate him,” he said.
Duterte said he would not allow any of his officials to be demeaned and even ordered them to walk out of the hearing if they were treated rudely.
Moreover, he said he was also willing to fetch his officials himself if they were barred from leaving the hearing.
“I will not allow that to happen. I do not want to fight Congress,” Duterte, a former congressman himself, said.
“’Wag lang ninyong babuyin kasi (Just don’t disrespect them because) my orders would be: if you are degraded, if you are inflicted with the wounds of your dignity as a person, stand up and go out. If you are arrested, I will object. ‘Pag hindi kayo binitawan (If they won’t let you go), I will go to Congress, even alone, to get you,” he added.