The House leadership is ready to provide President Rodrigo Duterte with the evidence during the congressional investigation in Naga City on Jan. 3, 2019 to bolster accusations against Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on alleged irregularities in the budget process, House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya said on Sunday.
Andaya, chairman of the House committee on rules, said President Duterte did not even call for a ceasefire if indeed he supported Diokno as what Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo had been trying to portray in the media.
“I have not heard any rumor that President Duterte is protecting Secretary Diokno. But if the President is uncomfortable with the issue, he can always tell me to let go of it, Andaya said.
Andaya maintained that the House will still pursue its congressional inquiry on Diokno’s alleged P75-billion insertions under the P3.757-trillion national budget.
He said President Duterte might have been just observing and waiting for all the evidence to come out being a lawyer and a former prosecutor before making action on the budget issues against Diokno.
“I know that whatever we claim in the media should be proven by documents presented and testimonies at the right venue. This will happen on January 3,” Andaya said.
“So we expect to start from ground going up. We shall find out the person involved We will determine where the irregularities started,” Andaya said.
Andaya said the media should ask Panelo and Diokno if indeed they were able to talk to President Duterte about the budget controversies.
“Maybe you should ask them if they actually talked to the President,” Andaya said.
This developed as the left-leaning Makabayan Bloc joined the call to fire Diokno in light of alleged irregularities in the national budget.
“We call for a thorough investigation into the alleged [budget irregularities], including the involvement of other members of the Duterte Cabinet in the insertion of pet projects in the national budget, “parking” of funds in legislative districts, and awarding of these projects to favored contractors,” the Makabayan Bloc led by Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
“As for the issue of the abolition of the Road Board and the Motor Vehicle Users Charge we in Makabayan bloc agree that it is a massive source of corruption and should be abolished but it should not be used to muddle or divert the issues against Secretary Diokno,” the Bloc said.