Duterte Cabinet members slam House for 'disrespecting' Diokno

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:

"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.

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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

Ralf Rivas

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

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