MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the country's police and military to "stay out" of the Senate probe into Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Duterte made the directive seeing as the Senate sergeant-at-arms could be ordered to arrest persons who do not show up at the Senate hearing.
"Mag-order ka ng sergeant-at-arms mo, sino bang kasama niya? Isa lang man 'yan. So you will order the police? So I am ordering the police not to obey you," Duterte said in a taped public address, referring to Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee.
(You order your sergeant-at-arms, but who will accompany him? He's just one person. So you will order the police? So I am ordering the police not to obey you.)
"You may resort to using the military. Sabihin ko sa military (I will tell the military), stay out. My order is you stay put. 'Wag kayong sumunod sa order ni Gordon (Do not follow Gordon's order) because he is now treading on dangerous grounds.
"Itong kaniyang hearing is an exercise of grave abuse of discretion amounting to already of lack of jurisdiction."
Meanwhile, Duterte said he will be issuing a memorandum prohibiting Cabinet members from attending any Senate investigation.
"I will issue a memorandum na lahat ng nasa (all) executive department will no longer obey your (Gordon's) summons," he said.
Duterte's comments came hours after Gordon criticized him for supposedly defending people linked to the Pharmally deal.
At the continuation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Pharmally's transactions with government, Gordon said he does not know why Duterte still defends former economic adviser Michael Yang and former budget undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, a fraternity brother.
Duterte has denied allegations of corruption, even saying he doesn't care what happens to Pharmally.
He has also denounced the panel's supposed ill treatment of Ong, who has been placed under detention for purportedly being evasive in answer senators' questions and for refusing to speak in an executive session.
Duterte described the Senate probe as useless, just as he threatened to "find what’s wrong with" the lawmakers.