THE HOUSE of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to reconsider the appointment of Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno over alleged irregularities in the budget system.
House Resolution No. 2365 was introduced by Minority Leader Danilo E. Suarez of the 3rd District of Quezon following the Question Hour at the House of Representatives on Tuesday evening.
“During the Question Hour, the issue on the augmentation in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) without the DPWH Secretary’s knowledge and consent, remains unresolved,” Mr. Suarez stated in the Resolution dated Dec. 12.
He added, “such insertion, if proven, is illegal and ultra vires for it bypassed the authority of the President, through its line agencies, to submit its proposed budget for 2019.”
This stemmed from the P75-billion amount added to the DPWH budget for fiscal year 2019, without the approval of DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar.
Mr. Diokno explained that the P75 billion should not be considered an “insertion” given that it was included in the budget during the drafting of the National Expenditure Program.
Solons, however, found it irregular that the DBM did not consult the implementing agency.
Further, Mr. Suarez said, “Secretary Diokno also was not able to explain how one sole proprietorship construction company was able to obtain numerous projects from the government in Sorsogon, amounting to billions of pesos.”
Mr. Suarez was referring to Bulacan-based CT Leoncio Trading and Construction, which bagged multi-billion projects in Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Metro Manila among other areas.
The minority leader also authored House Resolution No. 2307, which asked the chamber to conduct the Question Hour with the Budget secretary.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador S. Panelo, meanwhile, said earlier on Wednesday that the President still trusts Mr. Diokno, describing him as a man of “integrity” and “competence.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan with a report from Arjay L. Balinbin