Lacson: Call for Diokno’s resignation is ‘too harsh,’ ‘unfair’
MANILA, Philippines — The call of the House of Representatives for Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s resignation is “too harsh” and “unfair,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.
On Wednesday, the House adopted a resolution, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to “reconsider” Diokno’s appointment amid questions on the alleged P75 billion “insertions” in the 2019 budget.
The resignation call was also made after the allegation of House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya that a single contractor bagged 30 government contracts even before Congress could pass the 2019 budget.
READ: House adopts resolution urging Duterte to fire Diokno
But for Lacson, who has been exposing so-called “pork” in the budget, the accusations against Diokno were “more speculative” and not supported by “solid evidence.”
“The call for the sacking of Sec Diokno is too harsh and unfair considering that the accusation against him is more speculative than it is substantiated by solid evidence,” he said in a text message.
Instead of firing Diokno, the senator said, an investigation by the House or even the Senate is in order.
“We may be barely scratching the surface of anomalies involved, not only in unwarranted realignments by both House and Senate members, but in the preparation of the NEP (National Expenditures Program),” he said.
It is also about time, he said, to stop “wasting” government resources by going down to the basics of the budgeting process in accordance with existing laws like the Local Government Code of 1991.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, said he would not comment on a House resolution that “does not affect” the Senate anyway,
“That’s their business,” Recto said in a text message.
But as far as the Senate is concerned, he said, “We have no problem working with the Budget Secretary.”
“We are not fully aware of House allegations at this time. We are still studying the budget and its attendant issues,” Recto added.
The Senate is still deliberating on the proposed 2019 national budget, which has already been approved by the House. /cbb
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