BUDGET Secretary Benjamin Diokno tried to bribe lawmakers with P40 billion worth of infrastructure projects in exchange for their silence to the budget insertions in 2019 proposed national budget, said chairman of the House appropriations committee Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. at the continuation of the congressional hearing on the alleged budget insertions and questionable flood control projects.
According to Andaya, he met with Diokno last year during which the Secretary offered him P40 billion just to “shut up” about the P75 billion insertions.
The meeting was held inside the office of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) sometime in July last year, upon the invitation of Budget Undersecretary Mina Pangandaman. They were joined by a common friend whom Andaya refused to identify.
“He offered the House P40 billion to shut up, about the P75 billion. He tried to buy our silence and our cooperation,” Andaya said.
And when he asked where the P40 billion wiould be sourced, Diokno promised it would come from the 2018 savings.
“But I told him, I don’t see the P40 billion and he told me I will get it from the 2018 savings,” Andaya continued.
Addressing his colleagues in the committee, Andaya said this is the reason why he continued investigating the budget insertions because Diokno has the power to manipulate the budget spending.
In their previous meeting, Andaya said, he kept on badgering Diokno about the P75 billion and the Secretary promised it would be taken care of.
Diokno did not attend the hearing yesterday despite the subpoena sent to him.
“Now I have the 2019 budget in my hand, and I do not see any P40 billion there,” Andaya added.
“You can offer to buy us out, to bribe us for our silence and as to the amount, you’re only saying half the truth there a bigger amount involved but it might involve another institution so let Secretary Diokno talk first, react first to my statement and I will follow through with the other half of it,” Andaya also said.
Based on the document submitted by Diokno to the committee, the 2017 savings is P209 billion while in 2018 it is P97 billion.
Andaya described these savings as “executive pork” because only the DBM Secretary has the sole power to release or dispose it.