Lacson says sacking Diokno ‘too harsh,’ but agrees to congressional probe

Published December 14, 2018, 12:18 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said Friday calls by some House of Representatives leaders for the sacking of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno is too harsh and unfair.

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson

Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, maintained that the accusation against Diokno is more speculative than it is substantiated by solid evidence.

‘’Nevertheless, an investigation by the House or even the Senate is in order. We may be barely scratching the surface of anomalies involved, not only in unwarranted realignments by both House and Senate members, but in the preparation of the NEP (National Expenditure Program),’’ he said.

The basis of any General Appropriations Act (GAA or national budget) passed by the House of Representatives is based on the NEP.

Lacson nevertheless stressed that the proposed 2019 P3.757 trillion GAA might contain more anomalies should a congressional investigation would be conducted.

The senator is against the existence of ‘’pork barrel’’ appropriations or other forms of congressional insertions in the GAA.

Lacson earlier revealed that two House leaders were given P4 billion ‘’pork barrel’’ allocations and the less than 300 congressmen were given P60 million each.

Revelations at the Lower House showed that two former House officials got more than former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

The NEP also reportedly contained an item showing one construction firm bagging billions of pesos worth of infrastructure projects.