Question Hour on 2019 budget to proceed with or without Diokno

MANILA The leadership of the House of Representatives said the Question Hour regarding the PHP3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 will proceed as scheduled on Tuesday amid Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno's request for its postponement.

In a letter dated Monday, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. told Diokno that the House "finds it imperative" to hold the question hour at the soonest possible time due to the urgency of the lawmakers' queries regarding the current year's expenditures and the 2019 national budget.

"We stand firm on our intention to hold the Question Hour as scheduled and look forward to your appearance," Andaya said in the letter addressed to the Budget chief.

Diokno wrote a letter to the House leadership on Dec. 10, seeking to postpone the question hour to a later date due to the number of questions proposed by lawmakers, as well as the necessary data and information that need to be gathered.

Last week, the chamber adopted House Resolution 2307, filed by Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, requiring Diokno's appearance and participation in the Question Hour regarding the budget.

Suarez, in a press conference, insisted on proceeding with the question hour even without Diokno's presence. He said a witness, whom he did not name, would appear before the plenary to shed light on issues hounding the 2019 budget.

"That's beyond me kung hindi siya darating (That's beyond me if he doesn't attend the Question Hour). There will be plenty of congressmen, if he doesn't show up magsasalita ako, magsasalita si Majority (Leader) (I will give my piece, Majority Leader would also give his, and so on)... and the witness would have to come here [and] I will ask him in the plenary to come up with a statement," Suarez said.

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. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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