‘Diokno tried to bribe House with P40B to shut up about insertions’ — Andaya
MANILA, Philippines — Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno tried to “buy” and “bribe” the House of Representatives with P40 billion to “shut up” about the P75 billion insertions in the proposed 2019 national budget, House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. bared Friday.
After denouncing Diokno for snubbing the subpoena issued against him, the Camarines Sur 1st District solon then retold how he brought up to Diokno red flags in the 2019 expenditure plan, including the controversial P75 billion infrastructure programs.
Andaya said he had met Diokno several times last year and had always raised the issue which the Budget Secretary promised would be taken care of.
Andaya further recounted that one time, Department of Budget and Management Usec. Mina Pangandaman invited him over lunch together with Diokno and a common friend who was not identified by the congressman. Diokno allegedly offered the bribe at the meeting, Andaya said.
“Even Secretary Diokno tries to buy our cooperation. He offered the House P40 billion for us to shut up about the P75 billion insertion,” the lawmaker said, adding that he has text messages to prove that Pangandaman invited him to a meeting.
“Now I have the 2019 budget in my hand, and I do not see any P40 billion there,” he added.
Andaya also said Diokno told him the P40 billion would come from the 2018 savings.
“You can offer to buy us out, to bribe us for our silence and as to the amount, you’re only saying half the truth there a bigger amount involved but it might involve another institution so let Secretary Diokno talk first, react first to my statement and I will follow through with the other half of it,” Andaya said.
Citing documents sent by Diokno, Andaya said there are savings of P209 billion in 2017 and P97 billion in 2018, which he called “executive pork” that can only be released “at his (Diokno’s) disposal.”
Andaya also said Diokno told him the 2017 savings were reverted to the national treasury.
In a separate statement, Diokno belied Andaya’s bribery accusations as “baseless.”
“False. Another wild and baseless accusation,” Diokno told INQUIRER.net.
Prior to his exposès, Andaya also chided Diokno for “hiding behind technicalities” to justify his absence, and for apparently “missing his chance to clear his name.”
“Sablay na naman ang advise sa’yo kasi pinadala mo na ‘to (documents on 2017 and 2018 savings), hindi ka rin sisipot, contempt ka pa rin kasi you waved your right over the three-day rule by submitting these documents,” the Camarines Sur representative said, although no formal motion to cite him in contempt was raised.
“Maybe may franchise ka ng breast chicken. Chicken na chicken na ‘yung dating mo eh, takot na takot kang humarap dito,” he added.
In a statement, the DBM said Diokno “sought a reset of the hearing scheduled Friday morning” arguing that the subpoena was issued only on Thursday morning.
“In a letter to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, while assuring Congress of cooperation, Diokno invoked the right of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officials and staff to proper notice and a fair and just hearing,” the DBM said. /muf
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