THE House committee on appropriations on Tuesday agreed to the motion of Leyte 3rd district Rep. Vicente S.E. Veloso to issue a show-cause order to Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), allowing him to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for failing to appear in the hearings on alleged anomalies in the proposed 2019 budget.
Malacañang said it will allow Mr. Diokno to decide for himself.
In a phone interview with BusinessWorld, Mr. Veloso, a retired Court of Appeals justice, said: “He needs to explain why he should not be cited for contempt under Sec. 21 of Article 6 of the Constitution.”
He added: “He has refused to appear for four times. Whatever he says will be a matter of defense, which is why we issued a show-cause order, and did not cite him in contempt.”
According to the Constitution, “[t]he Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.”
In a phone message to BusinessWorld, Mr. Diokno said: “We have yet to receive the order and we will answer at the right time.”
Sought for comment during a press briefing on Tuesday, Mr. Panelo said: “We will let him decide for himself.”
“I will leave it to Secretary Diokno [to determine his position]. If he feels that he needs the official intervention of the President, then he will raise that in the Cabinet,” he added.
Mr. Panelo said in December that Mr. Duterte ordered Mr. Diokno to skip House hearings on the alleged insertions in the 2019 budget.
“The basis would be the rude treatment that he (Mr. Diokno)… received” during the Question Hour on Dec. 11,” he said. — Arjay L. Balinbin with a report from Charmaine A. Tadalan