DOT chief apologizes for Philippine Retirement Authority head's Senate budget hearing demand
MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco early Tuesday morning apologized for the “out-of-line actions” of Philippine Retirement Authority head who was called out by senators for demanding the prioritization of the Department of Tourism’s 2024 budget deliberations.
At around 1 a.m. Tuesday, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada called the attention of PRA General Manager Cynthia Carreon for “incessantly” texting Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Deputy Minority Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Pia Cayetano and asking them to stop asking questions to hasten the Senate plenary deliberations on the proposed 2024 budget of DOT.
PRA is an attached agency of DOT while Carreon, former physical fitness instructress and classmate of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, previously served as the chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotion Board in 2010. She was appointed to PRA in October this year.
According to Estrada, Carreon was lecturing them to stop asking questions because she has been in the Senate since 1 p.m. of Monday for the deliberation on DOT’s budget.
“May I call the attention of Ms. Cynthia Carreon, we’ve been here working at 9 o’clock in the morning waiting for all the budget of the departments to be deliberated upon. We are doing our job and no one has the right to tell us to stop talking here. It is our duty and our job to perform our work here in the Senate and you don’t have the right to tell us what to do here,” Estrada was quoted as saying.
“The secretary (Frasco) is not complaining. She is a neophyte secretary. She never complained. Who are you to complain? Kahit siguro alas tres na ma-hear ang budget ng DOT, hindi magrereklamo ‘yan, (Even if the DOT’s budget will be heard at 3 a.m., she won’t complain)” he furthered.
Zubiri also found Carreon’s actions “very surprising,” saying that senators are mandated to deliberate the budgets of all government agencies and also do not have the right to stop any member of the Senate to ask questions or propose amendments.
“As Senate president, I will never do that to any of you. So it's very surprising,” Zubiri said.
“When I heard that you were texting other members of the Senate, particularly more