Contractor in budget issue has United States trip?

December 17, 2018

HOUSE Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. bared yesterday that the owner of embattled Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s alleged favored contractor, CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, may skip the congressional probe of budget controversies because of her reported trip to America.

Andaya, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, expressed fear that his panel may not be able to extract crucial information from Consolacion Leoncio, owner of CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, to shed light on the matter.

He said his committee has prepared the subpoena for Leoncio and other personalities compelling them to attend the probe on Jan. 3, 2019 in Naga City.

The Camarines Sur lawmaker said his staff is still verifying the reported plan of Leoncio to travel to America during the investigation date.

The House Majority Leader said Leoncio will be asked how she was able to get huge projects from the government and allegedly subcontracted to other firms.

“Pero mukhang hindi na natin maliliwanagan ‘yan kay CT Leoncio dahil balita, pupunta na raw ng Amerika,” said Andaya.

Diokno denied knowing Leoncio or favoring her. For her part, Leoncio denied Andaya’s allegation that CT Leoncio Construction and Trading is a single proprietorship.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said allegations against Diokno are absurd and baseless.

“I have thrown my support when under the Duterte administration, Secretary Diokno introduced yet another game-changing initiative, the cash-based budgeting system, for we believe this will help instill fiscal discipline among government agencies and increase their absorptive capacity. This is an effective response to the perennial complaint of lawmakers regarding the low absorptive capacity of government agencies whenever we conduct hearings on the national budget,” said Villafuerte.

Andaya said lawmaker-allies of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte believed the Chief Executive’s statement that he was not in any way involved in the budget controversy of Diokno.

He said members of the House of Representatives have expressed faith and confidence in the President’s statement that “the identification of projects and disbursement of budget allocations is the work of his Cabinet.”