Satur Ocampo, others urge Duterte to charge Aquino with graft
Former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and his allies in the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives are urging presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to charge outgoing President Aquino and his top officials with graft in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program and Priority Development Assistance Fund, among other alleged irregularities.
In a statement issued by Ocampo and Makabayan officials Liza Masa of Gabriela and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, the group said Duterte must “hold responsible” Mr. Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad for all the anomalous transactions they entered into while in office, specifically the disbursements made through the DAP and PDAF, or pork barrel, both of which were declared illegal by the Supreme Court in 2013.
The Aquino administration disbursed an estimated P220 billion in pork barrel and P157 billion in DAP funds that were lodged as lump sum allocations in the annual budget.
Aside from funding anomalies, Ocampo said Mr. Aquino should also be made to account for the death of the 44 police commandos in the Mamasapano massacre in January 2015 and the violent dispersal of farmer-protesters in Kidapawan last April.
Ocampo said Duterte’s overwhelming victory was “the people’s expression of outrage and rejection of Mr. Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ government.”
Ocampo said Makabayan was optimistic about Duterte’s “propoor and propeople” policies, such as restarting the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front, release of political detainees, termination of labor contractualization, boosting farmer subsidies, and higher spending for education and other services.
‘Upheld the Constitution’
“Instead of pursuing what I call ‘neoliberal’ economic policies of the past administrations, Duterte should take the path of national industrialization and agricultural modernization to address the gross social inequality in the country,” Ocampo said.
In a radio interview, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said calls to jail President Aquino “have no basis.”
“The President has upheld the Constitution and the rule of law in doing his duty. If we recall, it was under his term that three active senators (Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada), other legislators and executives were charged and jailed. This is proof of his fairness and impartiality,” Coloma said.
He said Mr. Aquino had laid a strong foundation for economic growth through good governance. “The President has always said: Good governance translates to good economics. It is important to have a positive mind-set rather than injecting negative ideas at this time,” Coloma said.
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