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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday he believes in the competence and integrity of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno who has faced criticism from some lower house lawmakers for supposed “insertions” in the national budget.

“I do not have all the facts at hand to enable me to make any firm determination that an irregularity has been committed or that any law has been violated. What I do know, from my own direct personal encounters with Secretary Diokno over the years, is that he is a man of extreme professional competence and utmost dedication to duty,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

He said that as an alter ego of the President, Diokno — or any Cabinet Secretary, for that matter — deserves to be treated with a “modicum of respect, courtesy, and civility” by a co-equal branch of government.

“As Secretary of Justice, I urge everyone concerned to know all the facts and seek the truth before passing judgment on anyone. Until then, my belief in the competence and integrity of Secretary Diokno remains unshattered,” Guevarra added. (PNA)