President defends Cabinet officials on Ping’s pork list

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday laughed off calls that he sack Cabinet officials and ranking government officials implicated in the pork barrel scam.

“The point here is I only have one official family. Do I trust them or not? What are the allegations against them?” Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of the inauguration of a new solar energy power plant in Negros Occidental.

“And I already promised you, when we have sufficient evidence, we will bring the case to court and that’s what happened when we brought the information we had to the Ombudsman,” he said.

A list submitted by former senator Panfilo Lacson to the Senate tagged Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) chief Joel Villanueva. The three were former congressmen.


Aquino said his Cabinet secretaries should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
He added that it would be wrong for him to fire officials because of allegations against them.

“In our country, the rights of a person are protected and one of the tenets of our law is [that people are]innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until you prove yourself innocent,” the President said.

Alcala and Abad met with Aquino in Malacañang on Wednesday afternoon, but the list was not discussed.

The two Cabinet members have denied the accusations against them.

In the case of the Tesda chief, the President said Villanueva already showed him the alleged documents linking him to the scam. The documents, Aquino said, bore the letterhead of a party-list that Villanueva never ran under.

Villanueva was a congressman for the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party list.

“Is that sufficient evidence for me to remove Secretary Villanueva? If I removed him for that alone, I would say: Sorry, there are rumors against you so thank you. Thank you for the 91 percent of graduates you produced for the semiconductor and electronics industry who were eventually employed. And sorry to the 62 percent of graduates, previously 26 percent, that you gave jobs to,” the President said.

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2 Comments

  1. danny asinas on

    I salute the President… I dont know with other alleged personalities who were involved but for sec joel villanueva.. no doubt, if there is one person in the cabinet of the administration who is performing and tranparent it is the TESDA secretary.
    obviously, the allegations were crafted by those who wanted the sec to be out because of jealousy and also the upcoming 2016 political exercise… COA reports must clear the name of the good secretary. Congrats sec Joel V.

  2. Tila tama naman sya hindi dapat husgahan sa mga sabi-sabi lang dahil meroon naman nagawang kabutihan iyong tao. Eh, lahat naman ng nag-nakaw meroon kabutihan nagawa sila. Apples & oranges iyon! Pero kung itatapat mo sa dami ng nakurakot eh marami diyan na mas=malaki ang kasuwapanggan. Iyon yun! Tsismis lang lahat ika nga innocent until proven guilty and not vice-versa. Wala namang katibayan iyan pulos inggit at hindi nabigyan ng parte. Parang pari iyan na sa dami ng misa at nabinyagan eh walang katumbas sa i=ilan namolestiya nya. Hindi patas nga naman kundi sabayan din. Only one thing to say pag-dating ng panahon na iyon lahat iyan ay kakanta ng la paloma for there’s no honor among thieves.