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Pampanga
Sunday, October 24, 2021
PAMPANGA

Pangan: On snubbing a co-equal

At Close Range

THE Philippine constitution provides that the three branches of government—executive, legislature and judiciary—are co-equal and, as such, they deserve inter-department courtesy and are at most performing check and balance functions and prerogatives.

It is therefore surprising that President Rodrigo Duterte, a lawyer and former prosecutor, dissuade his cabinet members and executives from attending what seems to be valid, and for all purposes, legal, investigation in aid of legislation, of a huge anomaly involving huge contracts (in billion pesos) of medical equipment and supplies by an alleged undercapitalized company. There were allegations that this company and its officials have the backing and encouragement of none other than the president.

This undue interference of the top executive of the country into the acts of the Senate smacks of irregularity and violation of the co-equal clause of the Constitution.

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Thus, Secretaries Duque and Galvez (chair of the IATF) are alter egos of the President and may not be allowed to testify as an exercise of the executive privilege, and as such, may not be arrested if they don't show up in the hearing.

As to the subpoenaed witnesses, the arresting officer of the Senate may not be able to arrest them, as President Duterte ordered his military and the PNP forces not to follow the Senate sergeant-at-arms in enforcing the arrest orders. So?

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Lawyer and PDI columnist Joel Ruiz Butuyan wrote a relevant observation: Mr. Duterte is now stewed with critical suspicion by the public. This is because, while some of those being investigated have admitted instances of anomalies, the President has hastily prejudged the deal as immaculately clean. The President has proclaimed the innocence of all the people under investigation even if the same people have conceded particular irregularities.

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The Department of Trade and Industry, through its head, Secretary Ramon Lopez, has repeatedly batted for the unemployed individuals as it pushed for the reopening of businesses like spas, gyms and personal services which may be allowed the privilege of catering to the public under the present classification in the NCR. According to Secretary Lopez, these businesses may be allowed to open, subject to the prevailing health protocols. This way, he said, individuals may be allowed to earn their living.

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I'd like to thank Mall Manager Lana Geroba, now with SM Telabastagan and her assistant Dhin Patiu who attended to me when I visited the mall last week. Lana was replaced by Engr. Dale, now the acting mall manager of SM San Fernando Downtown. Thanks a lot, guys!

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I shared in the deep grief of my brother Perry whose wife Myrna passed away last week after a lingering illness. She had her wake at Indiongco funeral parlor at Sto. Entierro Street, Angeles City.


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