Palace: President Duterte “dismayed” over House resolution asking him to reconsider Diokno appointment

(File photo) President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo grabbed from PCCO video)


Duterte, members of his cabinet, extremely disappointed over inappropriate “disrespectful” conduct of House members in grilling of DBM chief

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte is dismayed with the House Resolution which sought his reconsideration of the appointment of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, as all members of the Duterte cabinet expressed their support for Diokno, vouching for his integrity and competence.

Presidential Spokesperson Savador Panelo read statements of support from various members of the cabinet for Budget Secretary Diokno, as well as the joint statement of all the cabinet members, during the regular Palace press briefing on Friday, December 14.

He also said that President Duterte is also extremely disappointed on the conduct of some members of the House who “arrogantly” questioned and “mocked” Diokno.

“Let us say we’re dismayed by the House resolution,” Panelo said as he also noticed that the House resolution was swiftly passed by the Lower House just a day after lawmakers grilled Diokno.

“If you recall, the President has already made statements that he will not allow any member of the cabinet, or any member of the military, policeman or officials to be treated with disrespect. After all, we’re all workers of the government and under the payroll of the people of the Philippines,” he said.

Panelo said that they all saw how “one or two congressmen” conducted the Question Hour, and exhibited inappropriate “disrespectful” behavior towards Diokno which, he said, Malacanang will not allow to happen again.

-Panelo points to “arrogant” way of questioning by Rep. Andaya-

“The way the questions (were) propounded by a member of Congress, Andaya.  We saw the video in the news and we saw how arrogantly he threw questions at Secretary Diokno and how he mocked him,” the Palace spokesperson told media.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo holds a press briefing for the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) at the New Executive Building (NEB) in Malacañang on December 14, 2018. (Photo grabbed from RTVM video)

He said that members of Congress should “exercise the demands of ethical refinements,” such as “courtesy and civility.”

“In fairness to the members of Congress, it was only one or two that made this behavior of disrespect. Not every one of them agrees with how secretary Diokno was treated,” Panelo said.

-Cabinet members vouch for Diokno’s integrity-

Members of the Duterte cabinet expressed dismay at how Diokno was treated by House Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., and Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, for instance, said that, Diokno, as an alter ego of the President, “deserved to be treated with a modicum of respect, courtesy, and civility by a co-equal branch of government.”

“What I do know, from my own direct personal encounters with Secretary Diokno over the years, is that he is a man of extreme professional competence and utmost dedication to duty,” he said.

He also “urged everyone concerned to know all the facts and seek the truth before passing judgment on anyone.”

“Until then, my belief in the competence and integrity of Secretary Diokno remains unshattered,” Guevarra said.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. (Photo courtesy Department of Budget and Management)

Various cabinet members, including Tourism Secretary Bernedette Puyat-Romulo and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, also vouched for Diokno’s integrity and competence.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña also expressed “outrage” at the “manner by which Secretary Diokno underwent a grueling that is not deserving of a member of a cabinet.”

“As we have repeatedly said, that while we respect the independence of each branch, it is elementary that these branches accord respect to each other. And the golden rule always apply — what you do not want others to do to you, do not do unto them,” Panelo said.

“Every time members of Congress are invited by the President, when they make courtesy calls, they are accorded due respect. And so, we, of course, demand the same respect when they invite members of the cabinet and for that matter any worker for the government,” he said.