Cabinet members named in Napoles affidavit
MANILA, May 27 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III is standing by his two Cabinet secretaries who were named in the extended affidavit of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Interviewed in Palawan on Tuesday, Aquino said the inclusion of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Budget Secretary Butch Abad on Napoles’ list of alleged pork barrel scam beneficiaries could be a handiwork of personalities who are “actively trying to muddle the issue.”
“I don’t have evidence right now but I know of personalities who are actively trying to muddle the issue,” he said.
In her affidavit, which was submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday, Napoles said she handed P2 million to Abad during a meeting where he supposedly explained what a special allotment release order (SARO) is. The SARO is a document that authorizes the release of pork barrel funds.
Abad has repeatedly denied transacting with Napoles regarding his pork barrel allocation when he was still Batanes congressman.
Aquino said if Abad were corrupt, he wouldn’t have instituted reforms in the budgeting system. “Kung ika’y magnanakaw gusto mo itago, pero ang ginawa ni Sec. Abad [ay] ilantad nang ilantad yung proseso kung paano mag-budget, paano ginagastos,” he said.
“So imbes na palakihin niya yung pie na pwede niya pagkunan, tila pinahirapan niya pa kung ang ambisyon niya ay magnakaw,” Aquino added.
In the same manner, he said he has yet to see Alcala’s direct involvement in the issue.
Napoles said Alcala signed documents for the list of pork barrel funds to her foundations.
Aquino had said in past interviews that he is not sold on the testimony of Napoles, citing the inconsistencies in the information she has been giving.
On Tuesday, Aquino said the inclusion of some officials on the list or affidavit may be part of the plan to confuse the public.
“Kung di mo kayang bumango, pabahuin mo ang lahat,” he said. (MNS)