MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III continues to trust Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva despite reports that he will also be charged for the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds, Malacañang said Monday.
This vote of confidence from Aquino was confirmed by Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. during a press conference at the Palace.
“Yes,” Coloma told reporters when asked if the President still trusts Villanueva.
Coloma issued the statement after a Philippine Daily Inquirer report said malversation charges will be filed against Villanueva, Senator Gregorio Honasan, and eight former and current members of the House of Representatives in connection with the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009.
Villanueva was still a congressman during that period. He was representative of the Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption in the House from 2001 to 2010.
Coloma, however, said it would be best to wait for the official statement from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the issue.
“It would be inappropriate to comment at this time this would be purely speculative,” he said.
The President has repeatedly sided with Cabinet members tagged in the scam, specifically Budget Sec. Butch Abad and Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala.
The two were tagged by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in her affidavit but the DOJ has yet to include them in any complaint. (MNS)