Andaya-led House panel to subpoena Diokno
MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on appropriations on Wednesday carried a motion to subpoena Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno after he continuously snubbed 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 approved by the panel now chaired by Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. The panel earlier issued a show-cause order against the Budget chief.
In a letter and response to the show-cause order, Diokno said he did not “intend to disrespect any of committees.” He also said his appearance during question hour last December showed his utmost respect the institution, stressing that he had “sufficiently answered issues.”
But Andaya said: “I know you’re listening Mr. Diokno. The documents you promised to us never arrived, so you never satisfactorily answered anything.”
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 (DPWH), 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. /je
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