Malacañang slams House over ‘unparliamentary behavior’ against Budget Secretary Diokno
by UNTV News and Rescue | Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
MANILA, Philippines – The Palace slammed the Lower House for treating Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno with ‘disrespect’ during the question hour on Tuesday (December 11).
In a statement on Friday (December 14), Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo called the Lower House’s adoption of House Resolution No. 2365 as ‘unparliamentary’ and something unexpected from people who call themselves honorable.
“This unparliamentary behavior has no place in the hallowed grounds of Congress, where members are referred to as “Honorable” as they represent their districts or sectors. There is no honor in browbeating a fellow worker and officer in government,” he said.
Cabinet members of the Duterte administration have sent letters to President Rodrigo Duterte expressing their support to Budget Secretary Diokno.
They argued that such an action by the members of the Lower House against Diokno appeared like prosecuting the Budget official and thus constitute a disrespect not only of his position but of the democratic process.
“We have witnessed the disrespect and utter lack of courtesy displayed by members of the House of Representatives towards Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno. The Congressional resolution urging the reconsideration of the DBM secretary’s appointment is a sheer violation of the separation of powers on the basis of a seemingly biased and hastily called ‘Question Hour,’” their letter read.
Also, the Duterte officials alleged that the resolution, which was swiftly approved, was “politically motivated and reeks of power play and ill purpose.”
According to Panelo: “It is incumbent upon Congress to accord utmost respect, show sobriety and observe the demands of ethical refinements when inviting officials from the other branches of government in their committee hearings” given that officials, such as Diokno, “are invited as resource persons to shed light on issues of national concern that our lawmakers hope to hear and understand.”
Because of what happened, Panelo said Cabinet members have the ‘option’ not to attend any congressional hearing or immediately leave if they feel that their position is being disrespected.
“We have many options. One, we will decline any invitation if we feel that they will be repeating the same kind of treatment that a member of Cabinet would suffer in the process,” Panelo said.
“Number two, we will go there if invited, but the moment any sign of disrespect is given a member of Cabinet, we will excuse ourselves and beg leave from the committee hearing,” he added.
“The way the questions propounded by member of Congress Andaya, we saw the video in the news and we saw how arrogantly he threw questions at Secretary Diokno and how he mocked him,” the Presidential Spokesperson continued.
Still, Panelo said the Palace leaves it is up the judgment of the members of the Congress, particularly the House Ethics Committee, if they will enforce a disciplinary action against Andaya.
“I suppose having said our stand, they would know that this time that we will not allow any further disrespect to a fellow worker of government,” he said.
After everything has been said and done, the Palace official notes that the administration “will not allow a similar incident from taking place” in the future.
Meanwhile, the Palace expressed disappointment over the non-passage of the 2019 National Budget before the holiday break and put the blame to the Lower House for the matter.
‘The failure is not our part but on them…We are of course disappointed it did not pass as expected,” Panelo said.
Panelo said they are expecting that both Houses of Congress will immediately work on the passing of the national budget once the session resumes on January 14, 2019. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
Salvador also said that the Palace is against the presence of these Chinese vessels and insists that they should leave the West Philippine Sea.
“They will know that we are against it. That we will not allow it. That we will not tolerate such presence in our territory. They have no business being there. It is if they continue to be present to our territory then it is an assault to our sovereignty,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs already submitted a diplomatic protest against China regarding the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island.
President Rodrigo Duterte also said he will not allow Chinese vessels to occupy Pag-asa Island. Duterte is also prepared to apply stronger measures if there are Filipino fishermen or soldiers affected due to the presence of Chinese vessels.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
by UNTV News | Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.
During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.
ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.
He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.
“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldierswho do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.
The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.
He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.
“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is prepared to adhere to the rule of law should a revolutionary government be declared in the country.
According to PNP Pcol. Bernard Banac, it is the mandate of the national police to maintain peace and order in the country.
“Sineseryoso ng PNP ang lahat ng banta sa seguridad, at peace and order, base sa aming mandato (Based on our mandate, the PNP is taking all threats seriously, and [maintaining] peace and order). The PNP shall always stand behind the flag and uphold the Constitution. We adhere to the rule of law and obey legal orders of the duly constituted authorities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the President’s threat about forming a revolutionary government is due to his frustration on what is happening in the country.
“What I know though, is that he is getting exasperated by and frustrated with endless roadblocks to his attempts to protect the people’s interests,” he said in a text message.
He added that the President knows the limitations of his authority.
“As a lawyer the president knows the scope and limitations of his constitutional powers and he will act in accordance therewith,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said that the President’s statement on forming a revolutionary government is out of frustration in all of the country’s problems including illegal drugs, corruption, and rebellion of communist groups.
Malacañang also clarified that the President’s warning in declaring a revolutionary government is not against the public but against the government’s enemies.
“It was more of an exasperated expression and I to put on notice against the transgressors that he will not just sit idly, and watch them do their illegal things,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre Olalia said the President’s warning has no legal basis and does not follow logic.
“First of all, there is absolutely no legal, constitutional, & factual basis to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Secondly, his reaction to the cautionary criticism of the opposition is non-sequitur,” he said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
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