Andaya-led House panel to issue show cause order vs Diokno
MANILA, Philippines — The House appropriations committee on Tuesday approved a motion to issue a show-cause order against Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno for continuously snubbing the chamber’s inquiry into issues hounding the 2019 national budget.
3rd District Rep. Vicente Veloso made the motion during the resumption of the probe. It was seconded and approved by the panel now chaired by Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr.
Veloso said they would issue the show-cause order to let Diokno explain why he should not be cited in contempt for skipping their probe which was launched on Jan. 3.
“It is lamentable that the DBM Secretary continue to deprive us of the opportunity to question him directly on several issues hounding the DBM. We have provided him the proper forum to clear his name of any wrongdoing. For the nth time, however, he refused to honor the invitation of this committee,” Andaya said during his opening speech.
Diokno earlier said he has not been “allowed” to attend the probe, denying allegations Andaya has been throwing at him.
Andaya has been accusing the Budget Chief of “inserting” some P75 billion infrastructure fund in the proposed 2019 national budget without the knowledge of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Public Works and Highways, as well as district congressmen.
Andaya has also been claiming that several contractors — which cornered billions in pesos of state infrastructure projects— are being used as dummies of Aremar Construction Corp., a company owned by Diokno’s in-laws.
Diokno said the P75 billion should not be called “insertions” as these were “adjustments” that were part of the budget process. He added that this was a mere diversion from the “pork barrel” issue.
Andaya started his exposès after Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged that the House Speaker got P2.4 billion in “pork barrel” funds while the Camarines Sur congressman got P1.9 billion. Both denied Lacson’s allegations. /muf
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