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No Cabinet revamp – Palace

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (September 04, 2013). In photo are Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.,Department of Finance Cesar Purisima and , Education Secretary Armin Luistro. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (September 04, 2013). In photo are Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.,Department of Finance Cesar Purisima and , Education Secretary Armin Luistro. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Sept. 5 (Mabuhay) – A Palace official denied Thursday rumors of a Cabinet revamp amid the alleged involvement of several Cabinet officials in the P10 billion ‘pork barrel’ fund scam.

“There are no plans,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a media briefing.

The names of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Manuel Roxas II and Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala are now being dragged into the controversy.

Roxas and Alcala were mentioned in a Commission on Audit (COA) special report covering the years 2007-2009 where they allocated a portion of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to non-government organizations during their term as senator and congressman, respectively.

During the briefing, Lacierda said they were surprised why Roxas is being dragged into the controversy when he has never been tainted with any allegation of anomaly.

He said the COA report on the PDAF covering the period 2007 to 2009 showed that Roxas, then a senator, allocated P5 million of his pork funds to non-government organization (NGO), the Kaloocan Assistance Council Inc. (KACI).

Lacierda said it is the NGO itself, not Roxas, which must explain why they spent part of Roxas’ PDAF to provide financial assistance to its employees.

Lacierda also said he has no updates yet on whether President Benigno S. Aquino III would appoint former senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan to Cabinet posts.

Wala pa kaming abiso mula sa Pangulo (We have no word from the President),” he said. (MNS)

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