House Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. was found yesterday to have lied in his claim that the Office of the Ombudsman had started a probe on allegations linking Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno after Ombudsman Samuel Martires flatly denied the House leader’s claim.
In a statement, Martires said an Ombudsman investigator called up the House of Representatives to ask for copies of Andaya’s and Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s privilege speeches related to the budget.
Lacson’s privilege speech called on the Office of the Ombudsman to probe “pork” insertions in the 2019 budget.
“We have not yet conducted any investigation with respect to the subject matter of the privilege speeches of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Rep. Andaya. As of the moment, we are only in the process of gathering documents,” the statement read.
The majority floor leader’s statement with regard to the Ombudsman’s actions was “inaccurate.”
Andaya claimed the Ombudsman had “joined the probe” into the flood control scam.
GMA sticks with Andaya
Despite the tagging of Andaya Jr. as the cause of the delayed approval of the 2019 budget that held up vital government projects, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she will stick with him when Congress resumes session on Monday.
We have not yet conducted any investigation.
“I am only one vote, but I’ll still vote for Nonoy (Andaya),” she told reporters during her visit to Samsuan, Pampanga.
Last Thursday, a member of the pro-Duterte majority bloc called for Andaya’s ouster for “subverting” the President’s legislative agenda and for destabilizing Malacañang with his “nonstop maneuvers” to derail the already delayed approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“Well, I don’t know how many congressmen shared that sentiment. From what I can see, the majority still support the incumbent,” Arroyo said.
The former Chief Executive added she exercises democracy in the House and she is “very open-minded” on these matters.
“I think Nonoy can take care of himself. I am not really an interventionist person on political matters,” she emphasized.
She added she was “selectively hands on” with regard to President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda.
Andaya is currently in a word war with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno who was alleged to have inserted P75 billion worth of projects in the 2019 National Expenditure Program.
The House leader also dragged Diokno into the alleged flood control scam in Sorsogon where his daughter’s in-laws are public officials.
No Rody intervention
Arroyo said despite the tiff, Mr. Duterte has not intervened.
She added she met recently with the President but they did not talk about the feud between House leaders and Diokno as she said the Chief Executive respects the individual powers of each branch of government.
Asked if the President said anything regarding the House probe on Diokno, the Speaker said he “definitely did not” try to suspend the inquiry.
“(That means) he respects the separation of powers,” Arroyo added.
Meanwhile, she said the House is waiting for the Senate to pass the national budget.
“The Senate still has to pass the measure. We don’t control the Senate,” the former President stated.
“We just let them do their own timetable,” she added.