MANILA (Mabuhay) — Amid calls for President Benigno Aquino III to sack Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, Malacañang on Tuesday reminded the public that the President has already previously addressed the issue.
“Tinukoy na po yan ng ating Pangulo at nu’ng nakaraang buwan nu’ng nagsumite ng pagbibitiw si Secretary Abad at sinabi ng Pangulo na hindi nya tinatanggap ito at pinaliwanag n’ya ‘yung dahilan,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said.
(That has already been addressed by the President last month when Secretary Abad submitted his resignation letter. The President said he could not accept it and explained his reason.)
Coloma said Aquino then argued that Abad’s resignation over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was unacceptable.
“Sinabi ng Pangulo na hindi n’ya tinatanggap ‘yung proposisyon na ang programang iyon ay masama at hindi dapat maging dahilan sa pagbibitiw,” he added.
(The President said that he could not accept the proposition that the program was bad and that it could not be used as a reason for Abad’s resignation.)
Coloma also said that Aquino does not have any problem with the performance of De los Reyes, who was accused of being weak in implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper) Law.
“Yes, the President continues to trust in Secretary De los Reyes’ capability,” he said.
Akbayan Representative Walden Bello, an administration ally, earlier appealed to Aquino to let Abad and De los Reyes go.
Bello said sacking inept Cabinet members would restore the credibility of the Aquino administration and its reform agenda.
He said Abad made a bad judgment on DAP.
“I think he has become a hindrance to the fulfillment of the program and I feel strongly that he must go for the matuwid na daan (straight path) to regain its credibility,” Bello said in his letter to Aquino.
Lawmakers, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, have already called for the firing of Abad due to the DAP, which was declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. (MNS)