Suarez rejects Diokno request to postpone House’s Question Hour

December 10, 2018

WITH or without Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the Question Hour will proceed today to discuss underspending and cash-based budgeting system.

This is according to Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, as he rejected the request of Diokno to postpone the Question Hour.

Diokno has sent a letter to Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo requesting the Question Hour’s postponement to a later date to give him time to prepare the “voluminous” documents asked by Suarez.

Suarez said if Diokno will not appear, they will present a witness who will testify against the DBM system of budget spending.

“I did not agree to postpone the Question Hour. We will proceed. Secretary Diokno must appear,” Suarez said.

On December 4, the House adopted House Resolution 2307 filed by Suarez, which requires the “appearance and participation of Diokno in the Question Hour regarding the 2019 election budget.

Pursuant to the Rules of the House, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. subsequently sent Diokno a letter informing the Secretary that “In consonance with Section 22 Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and pursuant to the adopted House Resolution, you are hereby required to appear at the Plenary Session Hall on 11 December 2018 at 3 p.m. to answer questions from the members of the House of Representatives.”

Andaya also sent Diokno the proposed questions to be propounded during the Question Hour.

Suarez explained that the summons to Diokno is part of its congressional “powers to conduct legislative inquiries and exercise oversight functions.”

The Minority Leader stressed the importance of Diokno’s appearance in the Question Hour, noting that “issues regarding budget insertions arise, thereby raising the possibility of having a re-enacted budget for 2019.”

As practiced by previous Congresses, the Question Hour is known to be a period of confrontation initiated by the Legislative to hold the Executive department, particularly Cabinet Secretaries, accountable for their acts and the operation of the government.