In the last Talk to the People episode, President Rodrigo Duterte poured his heart out against the penchant of senators for investigations that are usually divisive but end without any productive outcome.
Mr. Duterte narrated that, as a past member of the House of Representatives, he frequented the Senate during bicameral conferences, allowing him to have a peek on the proceedings in the chamber.
“That is the way of life in there. They don’t pursue it to the end, and the truth does not come out,” he noted.
President Duterte said the Senate then comes out with a report accusing personalities who are the subject of the inquiries of irregularities as thieves.
“The senators become the prosecutor and the judge,” according to Duterte. Added to that is the proceedings almost always get full media coverage.
The President’s reminiscence was triggered by the Senate probe on the alleged overpriced purchases of medical supplies based on an audit report that even the Commission of Audit, which came up with it, admitted it was incomplete.
“Some of those who you haul to the investigation have worked in government for 20 to 34 years, then they are insulted. That is what you are, dear senators,” the President said discharging his emotion.
Mr. Duterte said he expects more of the same hypocritical proceeding from the Senate as the election nears, calling the opportunist senators as “hijos de kagang,” which means “sons of a crab.”
The crustaceans have the characteristic of pulling each other down when bunched together, which for Mr. Duterte perfectly embodied a handful of members of the Senate.
“Will you vote for these guys?” the President asked.
Mr. Duterte had tried to explain to no avail to the senators the circumstances last year that led to the costs of health implements, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks, to reach levels that are about double or even more than current prices.
The pandemic hit almost at the same time as Taal Volcano erupted, sending Filipinos scrambling for masks. As a result of the short supply, the prices were high, Mr. Duterte tried to impress on the legislators.
The bottom line was that Mr. Duterte said all the purchases made during the critical period when the health emergency started were through his order.
Still the televised accusations continue, with the palpable aim of making the probe another telenovela series in which it will branch out to other issues that can be thrown at the Duterte administration.
It will all be investigations in aid of senators’ tall 2022 ambitions.