“The House has no intention of stopping the investigation into questionable allocations and anomalous practices by the Department of Budget and Management under Secretary Diokno,” Andaya said.
Michael Varcas
Andaya vows to pursue DBM probe
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. yesterday vowed to pursue the House of Representatives’ inquiry into Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s allegedly questionable budget allocation practices.

“The House has no intention of stopping the investigation into questionable allocations and anomalous practices by the Department of Budget and Management under Secretary Diokno,” Andaya said.

The investigation “has been transferred from the committee on rules to the committee on appropriations, which I now chair,” according to the lawmaker.

Andaya made the promise to pursue the probe a day after presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo accused him of waging a propaganda campaign against Diokno.

The rules committee, which Andaya headed as majority leader, started the inquiry on Jan. 3. On Monday, Andaya quit as majority leader and assumed the appropriations committee chairmanship.

It was also on Monday that he conducted his third hearing as rules committee chairman.

Andaya said he would set another hearing for next week – his first as appropriations panel head – “following admission by resource persons in Monday’s hearing that all chairmen and members of the DBM-procurement service’s bids and awards committees (BACs) are not permanent but contractual and job-order employees.”

“What’s worse is that even the executive director of DBM’s procurement service, Bingle Gutierrez, is a contractual employee whose term expires this June. This is illegal, a clear violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act,” he said.

Andaya said it is highly irregular that all the contracts and projects worth P198 billion bid out by Gutierrez’s office last year, P168 billion of which belonged to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), were handled by contractual personnel.

“How can contractual employees be responsible for bidding these big projects? Instead of DOTr experts handling the bidding, this was passed on to DBM contractual personnel. Isn’t it clear that there is an anomaly here?” he asked.

Andaya’s panel is conducting the inquiry jointly with the committee on public accounts chaired by minority leader Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.

Suarez told a news conference yesterday that among the transactions for which the DBM conducted bidding was the P14.3-billion consultancy contract for the Philippine National Railways north-south project. – With Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero

BENJAMIN DIOKNO ROLANDO ANDAYA JR.
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