Congress has its own show: Duterte nixes involvement in De Lima ouster, says he remains focused on job

  • President denied any involvement in ouster of senator from justice committee chairmanship
  • He said he is not involved because the Senate is not part of his territory
  • He also said he remains focused on his job despite the events and hearings in Congress

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte denied any involvement in the ouster of Sen. Leila de Lima as chairperson of the Senate justice committee; saying he does not care about the unfolding events in Congress as it is not within his jurisdiction and because he remains focused on his job.

“I do not intervene, dwell into matters not part of my territory,” he told Rappler. “I don’t care how many hearings are there, UN, BU, U2, B2, B52, basta ako nakatutok sa aking trabaho [as long as I am focused on my job].”

“Congress, bahala sila magkagulo dun [they can go ahead with their troubles], I will stick to my own agenda. Congress, they have their own show. Go ahead, be my guest,” he added.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar reiterated the same thing.

“It’s a separate branch of government, so we leave things to its leadership,” he said.

De Lima, who was removed from her chairmanship, earlier accused Duterte of masterminding her removal.

“Majority po ang nag-oust sa akin bilang chair ng committee on justice. Wala po akong duda na mayroong kinalaman  diyan ang ating Pangulo,” she said. “Bagamat nirerespeto ko po ang aking mga kasamahan, siguro po puwede kong  masabi na naiitindihan ko ang ginawa nila  pero uulitin ko po ‘yun, imposible  pong walang kinalaman dito ang ating Pangulo.”

[The majority have ousted me as chair of the committee on justice. I have no doubt the President has had a hand in this. While I respect my colleagues, maybe I can even say I understand what they did but I repeat, it’s impossible that our President was not involved here.]