MANILA, Sept 4 (Mabuhay) — Senators on Friday reiterated that investigations are part of the institution’s duties after President Rodrigo Duterte hit the lawmakers over their “incessant penchant for investigating government offices.”
“The Senate is simply doing its job. The government offices have nothing to worry about if they are doing nothing wrong! The Senate is investigating issues of the past not ongoing,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson pointed out that members of the Senate cannot be dictated upon over various matters, especially those involving public funds.
“The Senate is composed of 24 republics. We ourselves cannot impose on each other. While we always respect the decision of the majority, we also make sure that we follow our individual convictions and beliefs based on conscience,” Lacson said.
“I cannot see how anybody, even if he is the president of the country can influence us on an issue involving public funds especially in the middle of a pandemic. At least that is as far as I see it in my almost 18 years as a senator of the republic.”
In a separate statement, Senator Risa Hontiveros said anew that oversight on public funds should not be deferred just because a “state of emergency” was declared.
She underscored the need for more and better mechanisms on accountability amid the pandemic.
“Walang dapat ikatakot kung above board ang mga transactions. (They have nothing to worry about if their transactions are above board.) Speed should not do away with built in protection mechanisms. Hind yan (Those are not) mutually exclusive,” she said.
In a taped address aired Thursday night, Duterte told the senators not to investigate government programs and projects that are ongoing.
“You will derail it. You will delay it by your incessant penchant for investigating government offices,” he said.
The president reiterated that the senators are creating “noise for no purpose.” (MNS)