Militants blast Aquino for ‘undermining’ Napoles list, favoring allies
MANILA, Philippines—Militant lawmakers on Wednesday said President Benigno Aquino III should have kept quiet on the list of the alleged beneficiaries in the pork barrel scam, especially as the list included administration allies.
They were reacting on Aquino’s statement expressing skepticism on the list furnished by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. “In the end, do we expect that everything coming from her is true?” Aquino said on Monday.
In a separate radio interview, Aquino was also quoted as defending his Cabinet officials Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Chief Proceso Alcala who were among those tagged in the list.
“Kung ikaw magnanakaw, gusto mo itago. Eh walang ginawa si Sec. Abad kung hindi ilantad nang ilantad iyong proseso ‘nung paano magbubudget, paano ginagastos,” the President was quoted as saying of Abad, who was accused of tutoring Napoles in the scam of diverting public funds to ghost projects for kickbacks.
(If you were a thief, you would hide your indiscretions. But Sec. Abad has done nothing but reveal the process on how to budget and spend.)
During Wednesday’s minority bloc briefing, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said the president should have just “withheld judgement.”
“Sabi niya, the process ay depende sa ebidensiya. For him to say sino ang involved sa tingin niya, ay hindi naman ata tama ‘yun (The president himself said the process would depend on the evidence. For him to say who he thinks are involved is not right),” Colmenares said.
Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan agreed that the President should have kept shut about the list that implicated his allies.
“You cannot show bias now that your allies are being mentioned in the list. Because your allies are coming out (on the list), you even undermine the list,” Ilagan said of Aquino.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the President is undermining the government’s case by showing bias.
“His statement said he does not believe that Napoles’ testimony is credible. The president is then undermining the government’s case against Napoles,” Tinio said.
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