Duterte Cabinet members slam House for ‘disrespecting’ Diokno

Ralf Rivas

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Duterte Cabinet members slam House for ‘disrespecting’ Diokno
They say the House resolution calling for Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to be fired violates the doctrine of separation of powers in government

UNITED. President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet members back Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The fellow Cabinet members of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno expressed support for him, as he faces heavy criticism from the House of Representatives over controversies in the 2018 and 2019 budgets.

The following all sent letters to President Rodrigo Duterte, vouching for Diokno’s integrity:

  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
  • Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia
  • Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
  • Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat
  • Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña
  • Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año
  • Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
  • Education Secretary Leonor Briones
  • Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vivencio Dizon 

“We, the undersigned, have witnessed the disrespect and utter lack of courtesy displayed by members of the House of Representatives towards Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno,” their joint statement reads.

The Cabinet secretaries slammed House Resolution 2365 urging Duterte to fire Diokno, calling the move a “sheer violation of the separation of powers.”

“To use the congressional process to bombard Secretary Diokno with pre-considered questions and answers in aid – not of legislation – but of persecution, and excoriating him with baseless allegations is a mockery of standard democratic procedures,” they said.

“The fact that the resolution was swiftly approved and submitted the day after indicates that the series of acts was politically motivated and reeks of power play and ill purpose.”

The Cabinet members also said that they examined records and concluded that Diokno’s actions were legitimate.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr quizzed Diokno on Wednesday, December 12, on the alleged multibillion-peso allocations that the Department of Budget and Management “inserted” into the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019. (READ: House to probe alleged anomalies under Diokno in January 2019)

Diokno is also accused of using his influence as budget chief for the approval of several road and flood control projects in Casiguran and Sorsogon worth P10 billion.

Malacañang stands by Diokno, saying that he remains a “man of integrity.” – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.