Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno will finally be compelled to attend the congressional investigations into the alleged irregularities in the budget preparation after the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday issued a subpoena to him.
At the resumption of the hearing conducted by the committee, led by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the committee approved the motion of Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso to issue a subpoena against Diokno who has consistently snubbed the ongoing House probe into the alleged anomalies in the budget.
Diokno on Wednesday rejected Andaya’s accusations that his department generated P370 billion in “pork” as the savings were returned to the Bureau of the Treasury.
“Perhaps Cong. Andaya was referring to the P370.1 billion worth of appropriations in 2017 reverted to the Treasury,” Diokno said in an emailed statement to GMA.
“It is not true that the DBM can utilize these funds as the President’s Veto Message in Fiscal Year 2017 states that, in general, funds must be obligated not later than December 31, 2017.”
Earlier, Andaya’s panel issued a show-cause order to Diokno asking him to explain why he should not be cited for contempt for his refusal to cooperate with the House probe on the proposed budget.
Responding to the order, Diokno said in his letter sent to the panel that he had “sufficiently” answered the questions from lawmakers on the controversies hounding the 2019 national budget when he attended the Question Hour last December.
By attending the Question Hour, Diokno said, he was able to show his “utmost respect” to the lawmakers and to the institution.
But Andaya said the documents they had proved otherwise.
“I know you’re listening, Mr. Diokno. The documents you promised to us never arrived. So you never satisfactorily answered anything,” Andaya said.
Andaya has been accusing Diokno of allegedly “inserting” some P75 billion in infrastructure fund in the proposed 2019 national budget without the knowledge of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Public Works and Highways and district congressmen.
But Diokno said the P75 billion were not “insertions” but “adjustments” that were part of the budget process.