Budget department defends Diokno vs 'flimsy accusations'


Posted at Dec 13 2018 06:47 PM

MANILA - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday expressed support for embattled Secretary Benjamin Diokno after the House of Representatives issued a resolution calling for his removal.

In a statement, the DBM said it was the duty of the Executive Branch, through the department, to prepare the budget while Congress has the constitutional mandate to make amendments. 

Diokno's track record "has always upheld the highest standards of integrity, honor and competence," it added.

"The DBM strongly supports Secretary Diokno and condemns the flimsy accusations hurled against him in furtherance of a political agenda," the statement said. 

Under the leadership of Diokno, underspending has been "significantly reduced" and the agency's efforts to promote transparency and accountability was also recognized by international bodies, it said. 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider Diokno's appointment as budget chief over a P75-billion insertion into the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways. 

Diokno has denied any irregularity in the augmentation. 

In a separate statement, Senate Finance Committee chair Loren Legarda vouched for Diokno's "unquestionable" integrity. 

The senator said she has worked closely with Diokno in crafting several measures that would "reform the budget system," "enhance transparency," and "improve the efficiency of government service."

"In all those times he has proven that he is a no-nonsense man and an honest public servant," Legarda said in a statement.

Prior to his current appointment, Diokno also served as the budget chief of former President Joseph Estrada and was budget undersecretary during the time of the late former President Corazon Aquino. 

"Secretary Benjamin Diokno is a man of integrity and his competence is unquestionable," she said.

"He has my full support," she said.

Malacañang on Wednesday expressed the President's continued confidence in his appointee. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte considers Diokno’s record in government as "unblemished."

"We similarly wish to express that the President continues to trust the Budget Secretary and the confidence reposed on him remains unimpaired,” Panelo said in a statement Wednesday.

"Sec. Diokno's reputation as an upright, competent and honest public servant stays solid up to this day," he said.