IN a change of heart, House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya, Jr. yesterday said his panel will subpoena and even order the arrest of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to compel his presence in their congressional investigation.
Andaya, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, said his panel is scheduled to resume this Tuesday morning its investigation into Diokno’s alleged anomalous practices with the national budget which he has been staunchly denying.
“We will subpoena him (Diokno) if he does not show up,” Andaya told reporters in a press conference, a turnaround from his earlier position not to make a direct confrontation with the Executive department. “We will play hide and seek in Luneta if he doesn’t show up.” Andaya said his panel may order the arrest of Diokno if the latter would also ignore such order.
According to him, Diokno did not confirm his attendance in today’s hearing.
House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said the Andaya panel should compel Diokno to attend the hearing and come clean on his alleged P75-billion insertions under the proposed 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget and other controversies.
“We must [compel Sec. Diokno to attend the hearing]. Definitely ‘pag hindi siya mag-attend, isu-subpoena namin siya,” Suarez said.
Earlier, Andaya said the committee sent subpoenas to senior officials of the Department of Public Works and highways (DPWH), Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as well as Francis Clemente, who acted as the liaison officer of C.T. Leoncio Construction, Diokno’s alleged favored contractor, in dealing with government contracts.
Diokno vehemently denied the P332-billion flood control projects scam as alleged by Andaya which is now investigating his alleged questionable practices in the budget process.
Andaya had said Diokno allegedly inserted billions of funds for the flood control projects of the DPWH without the knowledge of Secretary Mark Villar.
Andaya said the purported non-consultation with Villar is allegedly an “utter disregard” of DPWH Order 23 Series of 2015 regarding flood-funding requests.
He said the DBM allegedly also placed the funds in areas “not prone to floods” and with the absence of any master plan in some parts of the Bicol region.