House to ‘take its time’ probing ‘insertions’ in 2019 budget
MANILA, Philippines — After being “rushed” to pass the 2019 national budget, the House of Representatives (HOR) will now “take its time” to scrutinize amid allegations that billions of pesos of “pork” have been inserted in the budget, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said Wednesday.
Andaya was referring to the purported anomalous multi-billion insertions allegedly orchestrated by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Andaya pointed out that they have seen such anomalies in the proposed P3.8-trillion national budget before but said they were rushed to pass the budget without scrutinizing it thoroughly.
“Nakikita ho namin na, ang problema, minamadali na eh. ‘Yung siraan na ginagawa na magigiba raw ang gobyerno kung di maipasa yung budget,” Andaya said in an interview over dzMM.
“Ngayon umatras na yung Palasyo at sinasabi nang hinahayaan na namin kayong balangkasin yung budget dahil may nadiskubre nga kayong anumalya. ‘Take your time’ ang senyales sa min ngayon, e di we’ll take our time,” he said.
During the Question Hour at the HOR on Tuesday, Andaya grilled Diokno for allegedly placing an additional P75 billion in the budget of the DPWH without the agency’s knowledge and without President Rodrigo Duterte’s consent.
Andaya insisted that Diokno was behind the multi-billion insertion in the 2019 budget of the DPWH since DPWH Secretary Mark Villar was not aware of it.
“Wala siyang (Villar) alam. Hindi nya alam at sabi niya ‘I refuse to defend this, hindi ko kayang depensahan ito dahil wala ito sa aming priority program’,” Andaya said.
“Doon nagkakaproblema. Kung hindi galing kay Secretary Villar, eh kanino nanggaling? Sa Department of Budget and Management, sa kanya (Diokno),” he added.
Andaya said they would again summon Diokno to further quiz him about the proposed 2019 national budget.
“Hindi pa tapos yan (Question Hour). Question Hours yan, babalik yan (si Secretary Diokno), ang dami pang nanggigigil na hindi pa natatapos yung kanilang pagtatanong,” the lawmaker said.
“Tuluy tuloy pa rin naman yung imbestigasyon dito. Marami pa itong oras na gugugulin,” he added.
The House Majority Leader said that the budget in 2019 will be partially reenacted if they are not able to pass the budget before the year ends.
“Payag na yung Senado na magkaroon tayo ng partial reenactment. Payag na rin kami so tuloy ho, pwede namang gawing sabay yung dalawa,” he said. /cbb
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