MALACAÑANG on Friday, December 14, scoffed at the "unparliamentary" behavior of members of the House of Representatives who grilled Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno over the reported P75-billion insertion in the proposed budget for 2019.
Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace was dismayed by the House members who disrespected Diokno when they adopted a resolution seeking the Budget chief's ouster.
Panelo said the executive branch demanded respect from the legislative branch, noting that it is "elementary" that a branch of government accord utmost respect to the other branch of government.
He also stressed that it was incumbent upon Congress to "show sobriety and observe the demands of ethical refinements" when inviting officials from the other branches of government in their committee hearings.
"The golden rule always applied: What you don't want others do to you, do not do unto them. Every time members of Congress are invited by the President or when they make courtesy calls, they are accorded due respect and so we of course demand the same respect when they invite member of the Cabinet and for that matter any worker in the government," he said.
"Officials are invited as resource persons to shed light on issues of national concern that our lawmakers hope to hear and understand," the Palace official added.
Before the session adjournment of Congress, the House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 2365, urging Duterte to reconsider Diokno's reappointment.
The call to oust Diokno was made after about P75 billion was allegedly inserted in the Department of Public Works and Highways's budget for 2019 without the knowledge of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
Apart from Panelo, Diokno's fellow Cabinet members issued a joint statement defending the Budget chief.
Despite this, Panelo considered the House lawmakers's move against Diokno as "isolated."
Panelo said the Palace expressed hope that there would be "no repeat" of the recent incident in the House of Representatives involving Diokno.
"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.
"We will not allow a similar incident from taking place," Panelo added.
Should lawmakers show any sign of disrespect, Cabinet officials would be forced to skip any congressional inquiries requiring their presence, Panelo warned.
"We will decline any invitation, if we feel that will be repeating the same kind of treatment that members of Cabinet would suffer in the process," he stressed.
"We will go there if invited. But the moment, any sign of disrespect is given a member of the Cabinet, we will excuse ourselves and leave from the committee," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)