Andaya’s political suicide

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The 2019 budget of the Philippines has been passed by Congress, just in time before the long congressional recess to allow the senators and congressmen to focus on their campaign for the upcoming elections. However, the hell-bent and bat-crazy Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, is not yet done humiliating himself with his childish feud against Budget Secretary Ben Diokno. Word is no one is taking him seriously anymore in the House of Representatives.

“Andaya had to concoct conspiracies to drum up public anticipation and pressure Diokno to attend the next hearings, but still he failed.

Andaya is wearing a suicide vest ready to blow himself up in Batasan like an extremist terrorist. By saying he is ready to bring the House down should the budget be passed without thinking, he admitted that he is willing to sacrifice the integrity of the institution just to prove a point against Diokno. To recall, in one of the committee hearings, Andaya said, “I will bring this house down. If they will pass the budget without thinking, I’ll bring everybody down. You now it. I know it.”

Just like a depressed lunatic and maniacal school shooters, Andaya was merely seeking attention from a stern and defiant Diokno. Perhaps used to getting everything that he wanted, he had to resort to mudslinging and rumormongering, similar to what is done in local elections. Problem is, this formula never worked against the reputable and revered Budget secretary who knew that his attendance would be certainly a trap.

Andaya had to concoct conspiracies to drum up public anticipation and pressure Diokno to attend the next hearings, but still he failed. From an alleged favored contractor supposedly related to Diokno after a testy “seven degrees of separation” to convince public that they are indeed related to claims that Diokno had the authority to allocate “savings” amounting to hundreds of billions from previous years, Andaya was grasping at straws.

Despite all these wild accusations, Diokno still did not attend the subsequent hearings. Thus, Andaya had to ask for a lifeline: A subpoena was issued to compel his attendance for his refusal to attend the hearings five times and his failure to heed may result in Diokno’s arrest then detention in the House. The subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum both dated 6 February 2019 were signed by both Andaya and former President now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Coupled with the subpoena, the strongest allegation was hurled against Diokno by Andaya who was probably saving his “best” allegation for last. This time, Andaya alleged Diokno “bribed” him an unbelievable amount of P40 billion. “He offered us P40 billion to buy our silence and for us to shut up about the P75-billion DBM insertion in the DPWH budget. He told me he would get the money from 2018 savings,” Andaya said.

This was obviously denied by Diokno as he said, “Absolutely false. It is again of one of his wild and baseless accusations. If I were trying to silence the committee, why would I even bother to submit to them the 2017 and 2018 savings for their review?”

Still, Diokno did not appear at the hearing scheduled on 8 February, the final day of session.

He instead sent a written explanation that cited Section 8 (3) of the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation of the House of Representatives, which provides: “Subpoena shall be served to a witness at least three days before a scheduled hearing in order to give the witness every opportunity to prepare for the hearing and to employ counsel, should the witness desire.”

Obviously irritated and disappointed, Andaya had no choice but to throw another tantrum for the non-appearance and gave parting words that his committee will continue its investigation (or purge, rather) even after the passage of the 2019 budget. And indeed, the budget was finally passed on the evening of 8 February — now we anticipate its signing by the President, unless there is a presidential veto of the pork provisions, as called upon by Sen. Ping Lacson, and which shall be challenged by none other than Andaya himself.

Notably, Lacson hit it right on the nail by earlier saying the P3.757-trillion budget is “cholesterol-rich” with a reported P75 billion of discretionary funds allocated to our beloved senators and congressmen, officials we elect to primarily be legislators, not mini-DPWH secretaries of their districts and constituencies. The existence of pork barrel was admitted by Andaya himself when he said, “Whatever I say now, I’m sure it will be called pork. So, let’s just say it’s pork. It’s the year of the pig (anyway).”

With this, it is clear that Andaya has lost his mind. An admission of this nature is enough to say he must be liable for violating the Supreme Court decision making pork barrel illegal and his baseless accusations against Diokno may be enough to indict him for libel. To think Andaya still has the guts to say he shall challenge any veto made by the President, maybe it’s really time to ignite his suicide vest.

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