PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday branded the plunder charges filed against him and his Cabinet officials as “absurd.”
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier filed the plunder case against the President, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
The group said that Aquino was included in the complaint by virtue of the “Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency,” where acts committed by department secretaries under the executive department are deemed acts of the President.
But Aquino maintained that he, Abad and Alcala had no “personal gain.”
“Curious ako: Ano ba ho supposed to be ang na-gain ko dito? ‘Yung element kasi ng plunder you have to have personal gain. So what did I, Secretary Abad, or Secretary Alcala gained?” the President said as he dismissed the case as “part of the democratic process,” which he noted entertains even the “most extreme of views.”
“So, siguro dapat pasalamatan natin sila kung gaano ka-absurd ‘yung mga minumungkahi nila kung minsan, na talaga namang lalong napapaigting kung gaano katindi ‘yung solusyon na minumungkahi natin,” he added
On the hand, Aquino acknowledged that his Cabinet secretaries are being implicated but said that he has to weigh in the criticisms and the officials’ accomplishments.
For instance, he cited Alcala for the stable prices of rice even without additional imports.
The President maintained that Alcala is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“So, ang balanse po nito, may nagawa siyang positibo, merong akusasyon ngayon, tulad ng sino man, palagay ko may karapatan siya doon sa presumption of innocence until proven guilty [So the balance here is he has done positive things, there are accusations now, but like anyone else, I think he has the right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty],” he added.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said that the President may not be brought to court while he is in power.
“The President is immune from suit while in office,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed.
“Secretary Abad and Secretary Alcala are capable of answering the allegations against them,” he added.