‘Unbelievable’ that Diokno unaware of Sorsogon infra fund, says Andaya
MANILA, Philippines — It was “unbelievable” that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno had “no inkling” that his department allocated and released P10 billion in infrastructure projects for Sorsogon province, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said on Wednesday.
“What is also unbelievable, Secretary Diokno has no inkling that the DBM allocated and released P10 billion in infrastructure projects for Sorsogon province just for the 2018 budget alone,” Andaya said in a statement. “Next year, P6 billion naman ang ibibigay sa Sorsogon.”
[Next year, Sorsogon will be given P6 billion.]
Both Andaya and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Public Works and Highways had no knowledge of the P75 billion “inserted” infrastructure fund in the 2019 appropriation.
House representatives were also not aware of these funds allotted to their districts, according to Andaya.
During Tuesday’s “Question Hour,” Diokno said the House added P75 billion to 2019 budget of the DPWH, but it should not be called “insertions” because it was “part of the budget process.”
Upon Suarez’s questioning Tuesday night, Diokno also admitted his daughter was married to the son of incumbent Sorsogon Vice Gov. Ester Hamor, who is running for the mayoral seat in Sorsogon City in 2019. Hamor is wife of Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor who is seeking reelection.
Despite admitting this, Diokno said he was not aware of the political plans of the Hamor couple.
“Ang nakakapagtataka, hindi raw alam ni Secretary Diokno na tatakbong mayor sa 2019 elections ang kanyang mga balae,” Andaya said. “Si Ester Hamor, tatakbong mayor ng Sorsogon City. Si Edwin Hamor naman re-electionist as mayor of Casiguran, Sorsogon. Hindi raw ito nababanggit sa kanya ng anak niya.”
[What’s puzzling is that Secretary Diokno said he didn’t know that his son-in-law’s mother was running for mayor in the 2019 elections. Ester Hamor is running for mayor of Sorsogon City. On the other hand, Edwin Hamor is running for re-election as mayor of Casiguran, Sorsogon. He said his daughter didn’t mention anything about this.]
“Ang tanong: Kasali ba sa insertion na ito ang P6 billion para sa mga proyekto sa probinsya ng balae ni Secretary Diokno?” Andaya asked.
[The question is: Does this insertion include the P6 billion allotted for the projects in the province of the parent of Secretary Diokno’s son-in-law?]
Diokno ‘blindsided’ the President
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier suggested the creation of a department that would “look into needs of each districts” amid allegations of budget insertions and questionable allocations in the proposed 2019 national budget.
Andaya said all these facts point to one thing: “Diokno is the man responsible for budget insertions and questionable allocations in the budget preparation and execution. He is the man who knows everything: every centavo for every project.”
The House leader also accused Diokno of “blindsiding” the President on the budget process.
“Huwag na siyang magtago sa saya ng Pangulo. It is clear that he blindsided the President on the budget process. The President trusted him. He betrayed that trust. The DBM secretary must spare the President of this embarrassment. Pronto,” the Camarines Sur 1st District representative added.
Both Andaya and Suarez also linked Diokno with a Bulacan-based construction firm, CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, which bagged 30 government projects worth billions of pesos in 2018 across the country. /atm
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