Diokno insists: There are no ‘insertions’ in 2019 budget
MANILA, Philippines —“There are no insertions.”
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno maintained this on Monday amid Senator Panfilo Lacson’s allegations that the 2019 national budget was loaded with “pork barrel” funds.
Diokno was summoned to a “Question Hour” of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
He said he would appear in the House and answer all the questions about these alleged “insertions” in the budget.
“There are no insertions, I can say that,” he said in an interview at the Senate. “Bukas I will appear sa House, sa Question Hour. I will answer these questions.”
Asked about the amendments in the budget, Diokno said the House, and not the Department of Management and Budget, had made changes in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
He admitted that they were not consulted when the House did some changes even after the GAB was already approved by the House on second reading.
But the DBM chief said there was nothing wrong or illegal with the House’s move.
“Pwede nilang gawin kung ano ang gusto nilang gawin,” Diokno said.
Asked if the said amendments made by the House were not “pork,” the official said: “Hindi ko sinabing hindi pork but that’s their prerogative.”
Diokno explained that in the budget process, the DBM prepares the GAB, while the House can make amendments and the Senate can either concur to said amendments or it can propose its own amendments.
Having the so-called “statement of difference” was just part of the process.
“Pagbalik nung bill na yun sa amin, we compare with the President’s budget. Ito lumabas sa Kongreso, merong difference, pwedeng i-veto ng Presidente yun kung hindi nagustuhan,” he said./ac
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