MALACAÑANG on Friday slammed lawmakers at the House of Representatives for their “unparliamentary behavior” towards Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.
The House conducted its Question Hour last Tuesday, Dec. 11, subjecting the Budget chief to questioning over the alleged realignment of funds in the proposed budget.
Last Wednesday, the House adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to reconsider the appointment of Mr. Diokno over alleged irregularities in the proposed budget.
In a televised press briefing on Friday, Mr. Panelo said some Cabinet members have expressed their opinions on how Mr. Diokno was treated by some congressmen during the Question Hour.
“I will read to you certain salient points. From [Finance] Secretary Carlos (G.) Dominguez: ‘To use a congressional process to bombard Secretary Diokno with preconceived questions and answers in aid not of legislation but of persecution and excoriating him with baseless allegations is a mockery of standard democratic procedures. The fact that the resolution was swiftly approved and submitted the day after indicates that these series of acts was politically motivated and reeks of power play and ill purposes.’”
He added: “From [Transportation] Secretary [Arthur P.] Tugade: ‘We have witnessed the disrespect and utter lack of courtesy displayed by members of the House of Representatives toward the Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno. The congressional resolution urging a reconsideration of the DBM Secretary’s appointment is a sheer violation of the separation of powers on the basis of seemingly biased and hastily called Question Hour.’”
Mr. Panelo said that Malacañang “accordingly hopes that there would be no repeat of the recent incident in the House of Representatives involving our Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno.”
He also said that “this unparliamentary behavior has no place in the hallowed grounds of Congress, where members are referred to as ‘Honorable’ as they represent their districts or sectors.”
“There is no honor in browbeating a fellow worker and officer in government. We will not allow a similar incident from taking place,” Mr. Panelo stressed. — Arjay L. Balinbin