IN order not to delay further the approval of the 2019 national budget, the House of Representatives will no longer compel Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to release to the public the savings of the government for the year 2017 and 2018.
In a statement, House appropriations committee chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said that the lawmakers can no longer wait for Diokno’s report because the 2019 budget has to be approved this week.
However, Andaya will continue to expose the irregularities in the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under Diokno.
“The clock is ticking, yet Secretary Diokno chose silence over transparency,” Andaya said.
Andaya said Diokno has no option but to make public the savings generated from the 2017 and 2018 national budget.
He stressed the public deserves to know how their taxes are being spent.
“Hindi na maitatago ni Sec. Diokno ang bilyon-bilyong piso na ginawa niyang pork barrel niya. Alam na ng taumbayan ang pondong ito at dapat siyang magpaliwanag kung paano niya ginagastos ito,” the House leader added.
Andaya noted that they have documents showing that fund releases were made last December without the knowledge of Congress and without the signature of the President.
These expenditures came from the savings in 2017, Andaya said.
On the contrary, Andaya said, the Palace should side with Congress in compelling Secretary Diokno to make public the fund releases drawn from budgetary savings so it would be able to doublecheck what releases were covered with authorization from the Office of the President.