Zero credibility


House Appropriations Committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. said in a recent statement that his committee will be conducting “joint public hearings” on the alleged anomalous insertions made by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno into the national budget.

“The problem is that you, Andaya, have zero credibility when it comes down to assuring the public that each centavo from taxpayers will be spent according to the laws.

This is really rich, considering the fact that Andaya and his House colleagues agreed to pass the 2019 P3.7-trillion budget, but only after he along with other pork hungry congressmen got what they wanted — to get their usual pork insertions in the budget — probably the only reason the budget was finally passed.

Andaya slammed Diokno and continued to paint him black for his claimed anomalous “insertion” of P75 billion in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget when he and his congressional pals in the bicameral conference, along with some pork hungry senators, got for themselves the P75 billion allocation that Andaya used as his political tool to try and destroy Diokno while ineffectively portraying himself as Mr. Clean and Mr. Good government while he portrays Ben Diokno as corrupt despite the fact that the ousted majority leader has no evidence with which to back up his allegations.

Andaya has accused the budget chief of inserting P75 billion in additional funds in the proposed DPWH budget this year allegedly favoring his in-laws for projects in the Bicol region.

Diokno clearly has no Andaya-claimed in-laws as his relatives in the Bicol region, yet Andaya keeps on claiming this, perhaps believing, as Goebbels did, that repeating the lie would be taken as truth by the public. Pathetic!

Andaya inserted billions in the budget for his and the House members pork barrel. It’s okay if Andaya and the House members insert their pork allocations but criminal when Diokno, as the incumbent Budget chief inserts, prior to the budget passage, an additional P75 billion budget for DPWH over which he has no control by way of allocating the funds to favor contractors.

But does anyone buy Andaya’s empty charges against Diokno, especially as Diokno has never been engaged in any government irregularity?

He has not even been charged in court, but it is fact that Andaya at this time is facing multiple charges of malversation and falsification, apart from his numerous counts of graft.

In truth, Andaya was charged with plunder, but somehow, he got this charge reduced to serious malversation charges and falsification of documents, plus multiple counts of graft — and all these criminal acts were committed while he was Budget secretary during the Arroyo administration.

But he is not done with Diokno yet, as his probe will continue into the claimed insertions in the 2019 budget even after its passage.

What gumption Andaya has! The budget passed is said to contain billions in pork for lawmakers.

It should be asked of Andaya if his investigation on his and his pork hungry colleagues will include their own hundreds of millions by way of insertions of each congressman and why the so-called projects of House members to be funded by pork are mostly farm-to-market roads, known to be the source of their individual private pocketing from their pork allocation.

Farm-to-market roads have been part of the pork landscape for decades and there should then be no more reason for farm-to-market roads projects. It’s just tax money going to waste.

More to the point, Andaya, who will be out of Congress and is running for the governorship in his province, insisted on junking the cash-based system introduced by Diokno to curb corruption. What does Andaya need his hundreds of millions in pork? To ensure his victory as the Camarines Sur governor? And for what? For his farm-to-market roads and other pork laden projects besides?

He said, however, the job of Congress does not end with passing the budget and hearings in his committee will continue despite the session break.

“If the good secretary thinks he can now relax and continue with his illicit activities, he is gravely mistaken. We are not done investigating anomalies he is involved in,” Andaya said.

“We will make sure that each cent from taxpayers will be spent according to laws and Supreme Court decisions,” he added.

The problem is that you, Andaya, have zero credibility when it comes down to assuring the public that each centavo from taxpayers will be spent according to the laws and High Court decisions.

His past acts as Budget secretary bespeak of his anomalous deeds and graft and corruption.
It’s time for Andaya to shut up. His credibility is now below zero.

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