MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang expects Secretary Nereus Acosta to just follow the rule of law.
Acosta, former Bukidnon Representative and currently general manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, is the first incumbent member of the Aquino Cabinet to face arrest.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on Jan. 24 issued a warrant of arrest for Acosta and his mother, Socorro, a former mayor of Manolo Fortich town in Bukidnon, in connection with perjury charges lodged in 2012 by a certain Fr. Venancio Balansag. Bail of P6,000 each was set.
“We expect Secretary Acosta to follow the rule of law and to follow the proper legal procedures especially when it comes to this case,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte at a Palace briefing.
In recent years, the country has seen a string of government and military officials flee the country or go into hiding when faced with a warrant of arrest in connection with various cases.
Valte ruled out any immediate relief for Acosta.
“I do not know yet. As of the moment, I do not know yet. This happened while the President is in Davos. I’m sure he (Mr. Aquino) has already been updated but we do not know yet if he has had the time to really process the issue,” said Valte.
Balansag had accused the Acostas of making allegedly bogus declarations in their counteraffidavits filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in 2006 in connection with alleged illegal channeling of P5.5 million from his priority development assistance fund, as a lawmaker at the time, to the Bukidnon Vegetable Producers Cooperative.
The cooperative is a private entity controlled by the Acosta family.
It was earlier reported that Acosta told the antigraft court that the complainant had already withdrawn the complaint and had executed an affidavit of desistance.