For Ejercito, Ombudsman’s DAP case vs Aquino, Abad ‘a slap on the wrist’
The usurpation charges against former President Benigno S. Aquino III and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad were a “slap on the wrist” meant to preempt the filing of a heavier case against them by the incoming Ombudsman.
“Ang pag-file ni Ombudsman Conchita (Carpio-Moreales) before she steps down, it’s a slap on the wrist…” Senator JV Ejercito said at a regular forum in the Senate on Thursday.
“Again I’d think that at the very least itong DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) case is a technical malversation, kung hindi man plunder, because of the amounts. But at the very least dapat technical Malversation, and I think Abad is very much guilty of this,” he added.
Ejercito suspects Morales “preempted” the move of her successor by filing the usurpation charges against the two former officials.
“Baka ang naisip ni Ombudsman, inunahan na n’ya ang incoming Ombudsman kung sakaling ma-arraign. If President Aquino and Secretary Abad would be arraigned, the new Ombudsman can’t file any more a case kasi double jeopardy na,” he said.
“Mas mabigat na kaso hindi na pwedeng mag file kasi napakapag-file na at na-arraigned na po si President Aquino at Secretary Abad,” the senator further pointed out.
Ejercito believes Abad should be charged with technical malversation while Aquino should be “guilty of negligence” for his failure to scrutinize the DAP before approving it.
While they may always be in the opposite sides of the political fence, the senator was confident that Aquino did not pocket a single centavo from the DAP funds.
In the case of Abad, Ejercito said, the official should know better if the DAP funds were acceptable or illegal.
The senator thinks Abad used the money to reward allies of the past administration in Congress.
“I’d think it was used more to reward ‘yung allies. Kasi noong nasa Congress ako noon, when I was part of the majority, kumbaga parang naambunan din kami nun. I have to be candid with you pero maliit lang ‘yun. Because some got hundreds of millions from what I heard,” he said.
Ejercito said he could not recall how much DAP funds he got during that time but in an interview in 2014, he admitted receiving P10 million from the said program.
READ: Ejercito believes he got P10M DAP funds for voting to impeach Corona
He claimed DAP funds could have been used to reward legislators during impeachment proceedings against the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“Yung ibang mga House leaders at that time and favored House members, got more than the others so ginamit nila ‘yung DAP funds for political purposes to reward allies in Congress,” Ejercito added. /kga
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