Palace to let Diokno decide on House panel’s show cause order
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday said it will let Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno “decide for himself” after the House appropriations committee issued a show cause order against him for his repeated failure to attend the chamber’s inquiry on the alleged anomalies in the proposed 2019 national budget.
“Sa ngayon we will let him decide for himself,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Trabaho ng Kongreso ‘yun, unless there is an abuse of the exercise that is given to them by the Constitution, we will not oppose,” he added.
The motion to issue a show cause order was made by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso and went unopposed after Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr., who now chairs the House appropriations committee, seconded and approved it.
The Camarines Sur lawmaker has been accusing Diokno 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 congressmen.
Diokno earlier said he has not been allowed to attend the probe, denying allegations Andaya has been throwing at him.
Diokno has not shown up at any of the House hearings after his first appearance in December, when Andaya grilled him over the alleged budget anomalies.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, also claimed that the show cause order appeared to be “premature” as Diokno has a “valid excuse” in his previous absences to the panel’s probe.
“Mukha ‘yatang premature ‘yung show cause…meron siyang excuse, sumulat siya eh. Kung halimbawa meron siyang previous engagements, that is a valid excuse, kung meron siyang sakit that’s a valid excuse,” Panelo said.
(The show cause order appears premature. He has an excuse, he submitted a letter. If for example, he has a previous engagement, that is a valid excuse. If he’s sick, that’s a valid excuse.)
“Kung ‘yung show cause is just because hindi siya nakaattend eh valid naman ‘yung excuse eh premature ‘yon,” he added.
(If the show cause order was issued because he failed to attend and he has a valid excuse, it’s premature.) /gsg
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