House panel to continue hearings on alleged budget anomalies even after P3.757-trillion allocation hurdled bicam

(Eagle News)—-The House appropriations committee will continue hearings on the alleged anomalies in the P3.757-trillion national budget despite it having been passed by  the bicameral conference committee.

This is according to panel chair Rolando Andaya Jr., who issued a statement on Saturday, Feb. 9, a day after the national budget was approved jointly by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“If the good Secretary thinks he can now relax and continue with his illicit activities, he is gravely mistaken. Hindi pa tapos ang pag-iimbistiga namin sa mga anomalyang kinasasangkutan niya,” he said, referring to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, whom he has accused of being behind the P75-billion “insertion” in the then-proposed national budget.

Diokno said they were “adjustments” meant to fund government projects, and that the Department of Budget and Management was allowed to make these in the first place.

According to Andaya, “in the next few weeks, we will again subpoena top officials of the DBM and Public Works department to pin down the real masterminds behind the P75-billion insertion in the preparation of the 2019 National Expenditure Program.”

“Congress will continue exercising its oversight function to ensure that public funds allocated to government programs and projects are spent in accordance with the law and the existing rules,” Andaya added.

Andaya’s accusations against Diokno came after Senator Panfilo Lacson said a district in Camarines Sur–Andaya’s–and another in Pampanga–Speaker Gloria Arroyo’s–had cornered “congressional insertions” in the proposed national budget.

The Palace has stood by Diokno, noting his integrity.

Diokno snubbed the most recent hearing on Friday, Feb. 8, saying he wasn’t given proper notice.

He said based on House rules, a resource speaker should be accorded at least three days for him to prepare for a hearing.

He said the DBM received the subpoena on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m.

The hearing on Friday, Feb. 8,  was at 10 a.m.