MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday shrugged off the plunder complaints filed against him and other government officials, saying they are baseless and extreme.
“Curious ako: Ano ho ba supposedly 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 gain?” Aquino said at the sidelines of the Pinoy Music Summit in Malate, Manila.
In October last year, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas filed plunder charges against Aquino, Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala, and Budget Sec. Florencio Abad, among others for their alleged involvement in the so-called pork barrel scam.
Last January, the same group filed another plunder case against Aquino, Abad, and Agrarian Reform Sec. Virgilio Delos Reyes, among others over the alleged misuse of Malampaya funds.
Aquino, however, said the claims are a little “extreme.”
“Besides yung teknikal na aspect dito, siguro part of the democratic process, ay ipakita yung talagang napaka-extreme ng kanilang pananaw,” he said.
But the President assured the public that no one is above the law.
“Pangako ko sa sambayanan, ginagawa namin yung ebidensya ang magdadala sa atin kung saan tayo dapat pumunta,” he said.
“Siguro tingnan na lang natin sinu-sino ba ang mga nakulong na rin tulad ni Mrs. Napoles,” he added.
As for Alcala, he said the secretary is presumed guilty until proven otherwise.
“May nagawa siyang positibo, merong akusasyon ngayon, tulad ng sinuman, palagay ko ho may karapatan siya [doon sa] presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” he said.
Under the 1973 Constitution, SEC. 15, the President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his specific orders during his tenure. The 1987 Constitution, however, does not contain the same provision.
But a 1988 decision by the Supreme Court (Soliven, et. al. v. Judge Makasiar) rules that “the rationale for the grant to the President of the privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the exercise of Presidential duties and functions free from any hindrance or distraction, considering that the job of Chief Executive requires all of the office-holder’s time and demands undivided attention.” (MNS)