Malacañang on Tuesday released a copy of the memorandum directing all officials and employees of the Executive Department to stop attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings chaired by Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the memorandum during his Talk to the People on Monday night, a week after he asked Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to draft it.
Under the memo, Medialdea underscored how the Executive Department has been showing “due respect” to the Senate panel through “faithful attendance” and “participation” of its officials and employees in the hearings.
The memo, however, noted that there are “clear indications” that the hearings are meant to go on indefinitely and are conducted “not in aid of legislation, but to identify persons to hold accountable for alleged irregularities already punishable under existing laws.”
The memo said the Senate panel has “stepped in the mandate of other branches of government and has deprived itself of the only basis to compel attendance to its hearings.”
“On the premise that the principle of separation of powers requires mutual respect among the different branches of government, and in view of Article II, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution on the protection and promotion by the State of right to health of the people, the President has directed all officials and employees of the Executive Department to no longer appear before or attend the abovementioned Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, effective immediately,” the memo read.
The memo also directed Executive Department officials and employees to focus all their time and effort on the measures to address the current state of calamity on account of Covid-19, and in carrying out their other functions.
“All officials and employees of the Executive Department are reminded to perform their functions in accordance with the Constitution and laws, and observe utmost responsibility, integrity, and efficiency. This Administration shall continue and shall not hesitate to investigate and file charges against corrupt officials and employees in the proper forum,” it added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed the release of the memorandum.
“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed all officials and employees of the Executive Department to no longer appear before or attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on the 2020 Commission on Audit Report effective immediately,” he said.
He said the Presidential directive is based on the premise that the principle of separation of powers requires mutual respect among the different branches of government and in view of Article II, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution on the protection and promotion by the State of the right to health of the people.