Diokno denies conflict of interest in Sorsogon budget

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Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 11) — The House of Representatives had its chance to grill the budget secretary on Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez asked the Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno about the P2.8 billion public works budget allotted for infrastructure projects in Sorsogon.

Diokno's daughter is married to Casiguran, Sorsogon Mayor Edwin Hamor, whose mother is Sorsogon Vice Governor Ester Hamor.

Despite the minority leader's insistence, Diokno said he does not let family ties affect decisions regarding the national budget.

"I've served three presidents. I'm known for my integrity. I have no relatives, friends, as long as public affairs are under consideration," Diokno said.

During the interpellation of House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., Diokno said P75 billion was added to the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways but it was not an illegal insertion.

"You cannot call that insertion because it's a part of the budget preparation process," the budget secretary said.

The exchange between Diokno and Andaya, who was also a former budget secretary, heated up when both parties debated the amount of involvement President Rodrigo Duterte had in drafting the budget.

CNN Philippines' Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.