Lower Chamber solons want Diokno to answer questions on 2019 budget

December 09, 2018
Benjamin Diokno

THE House of Representatives has summoned Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to attend its Question Hour this Tuesday afternoon to answer the congressmen’s queries related to the deliberations on the proposed 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget.

This is the first time that the House, under the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will hold a Question Hour.

The House adopted last December 4 House Resolution (HR) No. 2307 as Resolution No. HR00158 filed by House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo “Danny” Suarez, which requires the “appearance and participation of Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno in the Question Hour regarding the 2019 election budget.”

Pursuant to the Rules of the House, Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. subsequently sent Diokno a letter informing the Secretary that “In consonance with Section 22 Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and pursuant to the adopted House Resolution, you are hereby required to appear at the Plenary Session Hall on 11 December 2018 at 3 p.m. to answer questions from the members of the House of Representatives.”

Andaya also sent Diokno the questions he would be asked during the Question Hour.

“Further, you are also required to bring all pertinent documents such as disbursements, releases and office memos addressed to all government offices, among others,” Andaya added.

Suarez filed the Resolution, originally as No. HR 2307, last November 11. It was only last week that the House plenary acted on the measure.

He explained that the summon to Diokno is part of the Lower House’s congressional “powers to conduct legislative inquiries and exercise oversight functions.”

“Pursuant to Article VI Section 22 of the Constitution and Rule XVII Section 124 of the House Rules of the 17th Congress, either House may request heads of departments to appear and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments, invoking its power to conduct question hour,” said Suarez.

The Minority Leader stressed the importance of Diokno’s appearance in the Question Hour, noting that “issues regarding budget insertions arise, thereby raising the possibility of having a re-enacted budget for 2019.”