EVEN if he is yet to be officially investigated or charged, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad should step down for delicadeza (good taste), Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said on Tuesday.
Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, one of three senators who have been charged in connection with the pork barrel scam, also urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Abad who was tagged by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles as her pork mentor.
Bacani said Abad should leave his office now.
“Sa totoo lang, si Secretary Abad ay kinakailangan na mag-resign, kahit na pending ang investigation, ‘I will leave my office,’ ganun yun. I will suspend myself [Truth is, Secretary Abad should resign, even if investigation is pending, I will leave my office, he should tell himself, that’s it. I will suspend myself],” he added.
“Sasabihin ko sa kanya magbitiw ka muna, ipakita mo na hindi ka talaga gahaman diyan sa pwesto mo tutal somebody can take your place [I will tell him to step down and he should show that he is not clinging to his post. Somebody else can take his place],” Bacani said.
In her expanded affidavit submitted to the DOJ and the Senate blue ribbon committee, Nnapoles claimed that it was Abad who taught her the ropes on how to secure funding from the lawmakers’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
Along with her affidavit, the businesswoman included a list of lawmakers and government officials who reportedly benefited from the misuse of PDAF.
Abad, a former congressman, was among those named.
Bacani said Abad’s name also cropped up in the files of pork scam witness Benhur Luy.
“Si Janet Lim-Napoles at si Luy ay parehong binabanggit siya sa kanilang listahan, hindi naman siguro nagkaroon ng conspiracy yung dalawa sa kanya, mas matindi ang dating talaga [Janet Lim-Napoles and Luy both mentioned him in their respective lists.These two could not have conspired],” the bishop noted.
Bacani said public trust in the government should be restored since the pork barrel scam has ruined government institutions.
“In this particular case, it is very important that the people’s trust in government is restored,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Estrada said the DOJ should show fairness by investigating the other officials named in the lists of Napoles and Luy.
The senator also noted that government probers should also give priority to the case of Abad and the other officials named in the lists.
Two other Cabinet members were included in the so-called “Napolists”—Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva.
Napoles also tagged 20 former and incumbent senators and 100 congressmen.
“Fairness dictates that they should also investigate those mentioned in the Napoles testimony, the Napoles affidavit or in the Benhur files,” Estrada said in an interview with reporters.
Aside from Napoles, whistleblower Merlina Suñas has reportedly implicated Abad as one of the conspirators in the PDAF scandal.
But despite the allegations, President Benigno Aquino 3rd has consistently defended the Budget secretary and no investigation of Abad has been initiated by the DOJ.
“If we will be charged and jailed, it is also fair for the government to also investigate other individuals [who]were also mentioned [in the lists],” Estrada said.