Aquino says all propaganda against him now being revived
Former president Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said “all propaganda” used against him and his allies before were now being revived, as journalists asked him for his reaction to the plan of the Justice Department to reopen the pork barrel scam and make prime suspect Janet Lim-Napoles a state witness.
“Lahat naman ng ginagawang propaganda sa amin nung araw nire-revive nila,” Aquino said.
Aquino attended the launch of the political almanac called “Politiko 365” in Quezon City. It was one of the few times that he has been seen in public as the former President has kept a low profile since stepping down from office in June last year.
He obliged an interview with the media but emphasized he was still keeping to his self-imposed moratorium on commenting on political issues.
Aquino said claims that he profited from the scam masterminded by Napoles were “absurd.”
“Nung time na ginagawa nya ang scheme na yan ay ako ay nasa opposition. So yung nasa opposition ang nag-utos sa nakaupo– nung panahon na yon na kalaban nila– na pahintultuan ang scheme na nangyaring ito. So kung meron naniniwala dun, baka dapat manigurado sya na gising muna sya bago sya nag iisip, dahil mahirap yung naglalakad nang nananaginip,” the former President said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had said he would start a reinvestigation into the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Aguirre also said Napoles could be a state witness as long as she was not “the most guilty” among those accused of plunder.
The camp of Napoles said she could divulge more information about who profited from her PDAF scheme, including those allied with the Aquino administration.
Aquino questioned the moves to make Napoles a state witness.
“Ang question lang dito ang taong ito ay nasa gitna eh at sya ang naghanda, nag-coordinate ng lahat ng kuntsabahan para maganap ang PDAF scam. So parang ang hirap intindihin na hindi sya magiging isa sa mga pinaka-principal na hindi puede gawin state witness,” Aquino said.
Napoles surrender in 2013
Aquino again narrated that he allowed Napoles to surrender to him in Malacañang in 2013 because he learned his lesson after turning down the similar request made by then fugitive Army general, Jovito Palparan.
“Ang bottomline nito para sagutin natin ng derecho, bakit natin tinanggap si Napoles? Tandaan ninyo si Palparan. Sabi ni Palparan, handa syang sumuko pero sa akin susuko. Ang sagot ko nun bakit sya sa akin susuko eh hindi naman ako ang law enforcement authority na dapat tumanggap ng pagsuko nya? So tinanggihan ko at ilang taon ang inabot bago natin nahuli si Palparan,” Aquino said.
The former President said the reward money for information that would lead to Napoles and her brother had already been approved when he was informed that the PDAF scam mastermind wanted to surrender to him.
“Kaya sinabi natin, teka muna susuko na ito tapos na ang issue. Hindi na tayo aabutin nang taon taon para mahuli si Ms Napoles,” Aquino said.
He advised those who continue to accuse him of shielding his allies from the scam “to do their research.”
“Ang tanda ko nga, meron tayo mga kaalyado na may kasong sinasagot dyan. [Senator] Joel Villanueva comes to mind. Si [Muntinlupa Rep.] Ruffy Biazon is another one that comes to mind. Ngayon papatulan ko pa ba ang hindi totoong statements?” Aquino said.
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