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Duque seeks Palace clearance to attend Senate probe

Shiela Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Duque seeks Palace clearance to attend Senate probe
In a radio interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he would write Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea for permission to attend the probe.
Michael Varcas / File

MANILA, Philippines — Saying that he wants the truth to come out, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday said he will ask Malacanañg if he could attend the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings on the government’s controversial pandemic supply deals with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

In a radio interview, Duque said he would write Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea for permission to attend the probe.

“I will write to the executive secretary. I want this over and done with. They will just think of so many things so it is better to be transparent,” Duque said, adding that he also wants “the truth to come out” regarding the alleged anomalous transactions with Pharmally.

Earlier, President Duterte issued a memorandum order barring Cabinet members form attending the Senate hearing led by Blue Ribbon chairman Richard Gordon.

Duterte claimed he was not against the probe but he could “not allow blatant disrespect of resource persons” at the Senate hearing.

Duque stressed that prior to the issuance of the memorandum, the Department of Health has been “100 percent in attendance” at Senate hearings.

The health chief said they also attended budget hearings presided over by senators who could ask questions about the Pharmally probe “if they want to.”

“That’s also OK because we are able to answer them even if it’s not the Senate Blue Ribbon committee. Same senators are there,” Duque added.

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