Gov’t allies: Napoles, Luy lists meant to discredit Aquino administration
MANILA, Philippines— Lawmakers in the House of Representatives allied to President Benigno Aquino III said their inclusion in the pork barrel scam list of beneficiaries is only a ploy ahead of the 2016 elections to discredit the achievements of the current administration.
Three members of the majority bloc took it to a news briefing on Tuesday to defend themselves from being involved in the billion-pesos racket of diverting their Priority Development Assistance Funds to ghost projects under the scheme of Janet Lim-Napoles.
While cleansing their hands from the hands, the lawmakers also surmised that their inclusion to the list is meant to destabilize the Aquino administration ahead of the next polls.
Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali, who was included in the Napoles’ list, said “This is the 2016 elections at play.” Umali was tagged in the alleged Napoles’ list with his brother, former congressman and now Oriental Mindoro governor Alfonso “Boy” Umali.
“They wanted to bring down the rating of the Presidents through friends like Joel Villanueva, Prosy (Proceso) Alcala, Butch (Florencio) Abad and my brother (Governor Alfonso Umali),” the lawmaker said, citing other cabinet members and administration allies who were tagged in the scam besides him.
Batangas Representative Sonny Collantes, a Liberal Party stalwart in the province, agreed with Umali, saying the list is meant to “discredit the incumbent administration.” He is on the list of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy.
“Maybe this is part of the 2016 elections to discredit the incumbent administration. Sinisira ‘yung mga katabi nila (They are destroying those close to the administration),” Collantes said.
“In my case, I am the only Liberal Party congressman in Batangas,” he added.
Isabela Rep. Giordini Aggabao, who holds the high-ranking position of deputy speaker, also noted that administration lawmakers being included on the list “gives the net effect” that this was motivated by the electioneering. Aggabao is also on Luy’s list.
“The net effect is everything we are seeing now is to discredit the government,” Aggabao said.
“It is also to erode the case of the government against those members of Congress who have strong evidence,” he added.
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