Palace: No Constitutional crisis over House, Diokno spat
MANILA, Philippines —Malacañang on Tuesday said the ongoing dispute between Budget Secretary Ben Diokno and some lawmakers cannot be categorized as a Constitutional crisis.
“There is no Constitutional crisis. It’s a question of how you treat a fellow (government) worker,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“We are not questioning the authority to question Mr. Diokno, what we were complaining against is the manner by which the Question Hour was conducted – he was mocked in that Question Hour,” he added.
Earlier, the Palace and other Cabinet members slammed what they called the “unparliamentary behavior” of some lawmakers after Diokno was “disrespected” during last week’s “Question Hour” on the alleged irregularities in the 2019 budget.
Diokno was called by the House of Representatives for an inquiry where he was grilled regarding the alleged insertions in the proposed 2019 national budget as well as his involvement with the supposed favoring of contractors.
The House plans to summon Diokno again in its hearing on January 3 next year in connection with the “favored” contractors and the P75 billon alleged “insertion” he supposedly made in the 2019 budget.
However, President Duterte supposedly barred Diokno from attending the Congressional probe.
Panelo also reiterated that Congress “has the authority to review, and scrutinize the budget.”
“The budget is just a proposal – it’s for them to go over it, if they see any irregularity, it’s for them to correct it. And if such irregularity amounts to a crime, then it is its duty to recommend filing and charges against the wrongdoer,” he added. /muf
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