Impeachment against Aquino won’t prosper – senator
MANILA, Philippines – An opposition senator expressed doubt that any impeachment move would prosper now against President Benigno Aquino III over the alleged misuse of public funds.
“I think we have to be honest; it will not prosper now,” Senator JV Ejercito told reporters on Wednesday .
“Unang-una, yung timing at pangalawa, we have a very popular president himself. At siguro kung ano man ang impeachment case ang isampa laban sa kanya, mahihirapang umusad dahil popular ang ating Pangulo,” he said.
(Primarily, the timing and second, we have a very popular president. And I think any impeachment case that will be filed against him won’t prosper because our president is so popular.)
But Ejercito said someone must be held accountable whether it is Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad or anyone responsible for the release of funds through the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP of the government.
Abad said the funds that were given to 20 senators after the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona were sourced from government savings and coursed through the DAP.
Ejercito admitted that he was among those who received the DAP fund when he was still a congressman.
But the senator said he accepted the P10-million fund offered to him because he thought it came from the presidential social fund also known as the President’s “pork barrel” funds.
“Buong akala ko galing sa PSF baka sobrang pondo ng gobyerno …Kung nalaman ko lang na ito ay galing sa saving ng iba’t ibang departamento at program ay marahil aka hindi ko kinuha pero hindi ko talaga alam e,” he said.
(I thought it came from the PSF, from excess funds of the government. Had I known that it came from the savings of various departments and programs, then I might have not accepted it. But I really had no idea).
Ejercito agreed with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former Senator Joker Arroyo that the fund releases through the DAP were unconstitutional and illegal.
If the funds indeed came from the government’s savings, he said it should be given to projects programmed in the General Appropriations Act and should not be used for other purposes.
“Hindi po ako abugado, pero sa aking pagkakaalam, ’pag wala ito sa approved budget ng Kongreso ay illegal ang paggamit po nito lalong-lalo na sa ibang paraan,” he pointed out.
(I’m not a lawyer but as far as I know , if it’s not in the approved budget of Congress then the use of the fund is illegal, especially for other purposes.)
Ejercito then backed an investigation into the matter so that those responsible would be held accountable.
“Dapat may managot kasi kung hndi po sya aakuin halimbawa ni Secretary Abad, ito pong iligal na paggamit ng pondong ito e syempre po ang ating Pangulo po ang tatamaan,” he said.
“I think somebody has to take the bullet for the President. The buck has to stop there para hindi na umabot sa Pangulo. Kailangang may managot sa nangyaring pag release ng DAP na ito,” the senator added.
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