Lawmakers on Diokno issue: We believe Duterte

December 16, 2018
Benjamin Diokno
Benjamin Diokno

HOUSE Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. said lawmaker-allies of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte believe the Chief Executive’s statement that he was not in any way involved in the budget controversy of embattled Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Andaya said members of the House of Representatives have accepted unequivocally the President’s statement that “the identification of projects and disbursement of budget allocations is the work of his Cabinet.”

“We in Congress believe that the President is not, in any way, involved in this process,” said Andaya as he reiterated his challenge to Diokno to stop using Malacañang in defending himself on the budget controversies in the national expenditure program (NEP).

Last Thursday, President Duterte delivered a speech during the unveiling of a marker in a Las Piñas hotel where he clarified that he has no participation in the budget controversy.

“Secretary Diokno must not drag President Duterte into this mess. The President has already spoken. He has no hand in the identification of infrastructure projects inserted by the DBM in the national budget. The identification of projects and disbursement of budget allocations is the work of his Cabinet,” said Andaya, whose House Committee on Rules that he chaired will begin its inquiry on the alleged budget controversies and questionable allocations by Diokno in the NEP on January 3, 2019 in Naga City.

President Duterte said any budget documents pertaining to projects and money did not reach his table.

“I tell you now again and again, there is no document or documents involving money, public or private projects, and everything. It does not reach my table either in the office or in my house. It begins and starts with a Cabinet member,” said President Duterte.

“Maghanap kayo ng dokumento either in Congress, CoA (Commission on Audit) wala talaga kayo . . . wala kayong makita na approved or disapproved. Kanila ’yan,” the President said.

“Ako, mga appointments, then policies pati yung mga policies natin with our bilateral and multilateral commitment. Hanggang diyan lang ako,” the President added.

Andaya Jr. bared last Saturday that the daughter of Diokno’s in-laws allegedly entered into at least four joint ventures with the purported favored contractor, CT Leoncio Construction and Trading for the implementation of almost P550-million road projects in Sorsogon.

According to Andaya, Casiguran, Sorsogon Mayor Edwin Hamor has allegedly admitted in a recent television interview that his children own a construction company and may know the controversial CT Leoncio Construction and Trading.

Andaya said Hamor is the father of Jojo Sicat, the husband of Diokno’s daughter, Charlotte Justine.

Edwin Hamor’s wife, Ester is the incumbent Vice Governor of Sorsogon, said Andaya.

Andaya said that documents obtained by the House panel allegedly showed that a daughter of the Hamors, Maria Minez Hamor, owns Aremar Construction Corp.

He said the projects include the P49-million highway improvement for Aruman-Casiguran Road; P96-million construction of Barcelona-Casiguran diversion road; P115-million tourism road leading to Bulusan National Park; and the P289-million Daang Maharlika Section in the 1st District of Sorsogon. These projects alone cost the taxpayers a total of P549 million.