BUDGET Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad still enjoys the trust and confidence of President Benigno Aquino 3rd despite recent reports linking him to the pork barrel scam.
In a radio interview on Sunday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. defended the Budget chief, saying the President will not be affected by the allegations until the are proven.
“The President remains very focused on pushing for reforms. His view is clearly based on concrete evidence. Only evidence would direct the investigations,” Coloma said.
Last week, news reports named Abad as the real mastermind behind the scheme to funnel Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to bogus nongovernment organizations put up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
There were speculations that Napoles pointed to Abad as her mentor during her meeting with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima Monday last week. De Lima supposedly had to consult with Aquino on how to handle Napoles’ revelations.
Abad has denied the report and said the contents of Napoles’ affidavit has not been made public.
“These fresh allegations that I ‘tutored’ Janet Lim-Napoles in designing the PDAF scam are simply not true. I have never dealt with Janet Lim-Napoles, much less acted as a mentor in executing her alleged schemes,” he said in a statement sent to the media last Friday.
JOEL M. SY EGCO