Palace won’t help allies linked to pork scam

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd will not lift a finger to help his allies who are being investigated for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Monday.

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“The fact that we already have an ally who have cases that [have]been filed against him, that should douse any suspicion or fear that this government is set to protect its allies,” Lacierda told reporters.

Over 80 lawmakers, including allies of the President, were accused to have funneled their Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel to questionable non-government organizations through the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor).

But Lacierda said as far as the Executive Branch is concerned,
the probe will go where the evidence leads.

”I think that’s the situation regardless of whether you are close or not. The President maintains the same principle that where the evidence leads, the Department of Justice will prosecute, they will investigate,” he said.

”So we will leave it with the DOJ to assess and evaluate those cases,” he added.

Among the more than 80 lawmakers tagged by two Nabcor officials was Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva, who was a party-list representative for the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption during the Arroyo administration.

Lacierda said Villanueva has given assurances that he will cooperate in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Lacierda stressed that the Commission on Audit report showed the transactions occurred from 2007 to 2009.

“You must also remember that this was a time where LP [Liberal Party] was not in power, people during the time belong to different parties. It is not the affiliation of the present time, but rather during the time when this audit was conducted, and this is precisely the audit of 2007 to 2009,” he said.

”So, again, these are events that happened prior to the [Aquino] administration, and so we certainly still maintain the belief that where the evidence leads us, then let’s go there,” Lacierda added.

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