“Diokno should stop treating the national budget as his personal kitty. It’s not his money. It’s the money of the citizens,” House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said in mixed English and Filipino after Diokno threatened to delay the fourth tranche of pay hike for government workers this year.
Boy Santos
Andaya to Diokno: Annual budget not your ‘personal kitty’
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)’s role in the preparation of the annual national budget is significant, it is not a “personal kitty” whose utilization can be decided on a whim by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, a House leader asserted yesterday.

“Diokno should stop treating the national budget as his personal kitty. It’s not his money. It’s the money of the citizens,” House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said in mixed English and Filipino after Diokno threatened to delay the fourth tranche of pay hike for government workers this year.

“Our civil servants deserve the salary increase due them this year. Pay them now, not later. Our fellow Filipinos need every peso of aid given by the government,” the Camarines Sur congressman added, as Diokno insisted on the passage of the 2019 budget.

Just like Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Andaya – who was budget chief during the presidency of incumbent Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – said it would be good if Diokno took the unsolicited advice of Drilon, if he is “too proud to take advice from a congressman.”

“There is a law authorizing the salary increases for government workers until 2019. Aside from this, President Duterte has signed Joint Resolution 3 extending the (personnel services) and (capital outlay) of the 2018 budget until the end of 2019,” he said.

“As Senator Drilon correctly pointed out, the DBM does not have to wait for Congress to approve the 2019 General Appropriations Act before it implements the fourth tranche of salary increase,” the senior administration lawmaker maintained.

The “non-passage of the 2019 national budget is a non-issue in the implementation of the salary increase because the money is there and the authorization is there,” according to Andaya.

“If Secretary Diokno harbors ill-feelings toward Congress because of the investigation being done on him and his family, he should take the government workers out of the picture. Spare them from your wrath, Mr. Secretary,” he said.

“The fund releases from the DBM are governed by laws and rules. They are not personal accounts that can be released or withheld based on the whims and caprices of the DBM secretary,” he asserted.

Putting Rody  in bad light

Meanwhile, Diokno is putting Duterte in a bad light over his continued refusal to implement the fourth tranche of salary increases for the 1.6 million-strong bureaucracy, according to Andaya. 

“The President may end up being blamed as the fall guy for the non-release as Diokno will simply say the President has not authorized the fund releases,” Andaya said. “If there’s a will, there’s a way; otherwise, there are a lot of reasons.”

The lawmaker urged the Chief Executive to “please remind the DBM secretary to transmit to the (Office of the President) all the documents needed to effect the release of salary increase for government employees due this year.

“Diokno will be doing the country a great disservice if he fails to submit these documents to the President on time. The President needs to sign the pertinent documents in order to effect the releases by Jan. 15,” Andaya stressed.

BENJAMIN DIOKNO DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT
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