MANILA - House of Representatives appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. on Saturday said Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno will be summoned to the resumption of the House investigation into alleged anomalies in the budget department.
In a statement, Andaya said Diokno must explain his alleged role in events that have delayed the passage of the 2019 national budget.
Andaya had accused the budget chief of inserting P75 billion in additional funds to the proposed Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget this year and for allegedly favoring relatives for projects in the Bicol region.
"Sec. [Mark] Villar told a multimedia forum that Sec. Diokno did not notify the DPWH about the P75 billion that was added to its budget for 2019," Andaya said in a statement.
"It is time for Sec. Diokno to explain fully his role in the conspiracy that stalled the congressional deliberations of the 2019 budget," he said.
In December, Andaya grilled Diokno over alleged insertions in the 2019 budget which were made to supposedly fund projects bagged by a construction company owned by the family of the budget chief's son-in-law.
Diokno has denied the allegations.
Villar, in an earlier interview on ANC's Headstart, also clarified that there was nothing wrong with what Diokno did as the Department of Budget and Management has the prerogative to make necessary adjustments in the budget.
"'Yun naman talaga ang proseso, hindi naman dahil nag-submit kami ng recommendation automatic na 'yun ang ia-adopt ng Executive department as a whole," Villar said.
(That's really how the process goes. Not because we submitted a recommendation, it's automatic that the Executive department will adopt it as a whole.)
Andaya first linked Diokno to alleged irregularities in the preparation of the proposed budget in December shortly after Sen. Panfilo Lacson bared that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and some of her allies in the chamber were allocated P4.3-billion in discretionary funds or "pork barrel" in the proposed expenditure plan.
Arroyo's Pampanga district was allotted P2.4 billion worth of projects while a Camarines Sur lawmaker was given P1.9 billion worth of projects, Lacson said without naming the latter representative.
Andaya is the first district representative of Camarines Sur.