Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Friday denied claims by former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao that President Benigno Aquino 3rd bribed senators into convicting impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“Absolutely not true,” Abad said of what Tiglao wrote in his column in The Manila Times on Friday.
“You should get a more objective and reliable source,” Abad told The Manila Times reporter.
Tiglao wrote that Aquino “committed bribery by offering the Senator-Judges the quick release of their pork barrel funds as well as an additional P100 million in such discretionary funds disguised as allocations out of the Disbursement Acceleration Fund.”
He cited the release of Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.’s P100-million pork barrel for 2012 after Revilla’s meeting with the President at his official residence.
“On May 4, 2012—after his meeting with Aquino in Malacañang, which was in the last week of April, I was told— Abad released P86 million of Revilla’s P100 million pork barrel for the year. It was on May 29 that the Senate voted to boot out Corona as chief justice. These figures are from the budget department’s data,” Tiglao said.
He said Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Manuel Villar also had their pork barrel released the day before the Senate voted to oust Corona in 2012.
But Abad said what the senators received were part of “regular” Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) releases.
“We’ll check but if true definitely it was not because of the meeting with the President. Maybe part of his regular PDAF but we need to validate,” Abad said.
“Insofar as bribery is concerned, that has never been the policy nor the practice of this administration. The fact that Tiglao says so doesn’t make it so. Bribery is not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of evidence. It is not proved by merely inferring from a website,” he said.
Peachy Paderna, the Budget department’s public information chief, said in text message: “We checked our website [www.pdaf.dbm.gov.ph] and found no record of such a release.
You can also check the site if you’d like to view all fund releases to the Senator to date. Hope this clarifies things!”
“There are records of releases made from Sen. Revilla’s PDAF on May 4 and 7, however. These were—as with all others—routine releases. Besides that, DBM also made a release from the PDAF under Sen. Pia Cayetano’s office on May 7,” Paderna said.